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CHICAGO D. COUN., CARPENTERS MILLMEN v. STANFRED LAM. CO.

March 16, 2004.

CHICAGO DISTRICT COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS MILLMEN PENSION FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
STANFRED LAMINATING COMPANY, INC., Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiffs brought suit against Defendant under Section 502 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1132 (2000), and Section 301 of the Taft-Hartley Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185 (2000), alleging that Defendant violated its obligations under the applicable agreements by failing to submit monthly employee benefit reports and by failing to pay monthly fringe benefit contributions. Plaintiffs move for summary judgment For the reasons stated herein, the Court grants Plaintiffs' motion in part.

LEGAL STANDARDS

  Summary judgment is proper when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A genuine issue of triable fact exists only if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Pugh v. City of Attica, 259 F.3d 619, 625 (7th Cir. 2001) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, Page 2 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). Summary judgment is inappropriate "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248,106 S.Ct. at 2505. The Court "considers the evidentiary record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and draws all reasonable inferences in his favor." Lesch v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., 282 F.3d 467, 471 (7th Cir. 2002).

  BACKGROUND

  Plaintiffs bring this action under ERISA Section 502 and Section 301 of the Taft-Hartley Act. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because of questions arising under these two statutes. (R. 16-1, Pls.' Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶ 1.)*fn1

 I. The Parties

  Plaintiffs Chicago District Council of Carpenters Millmen Pension Fund, et al. are a group of pension and welfare plans that receive contributions from numerous employers pursuant to collective bargaining agreements between employers and the Chicago and Northeast Illinois District Council of Carpenters ("Union"). (R. 16-1, Pls.' Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶ 2.)

  Defendant Suke, Inc. is an Indiana corporation that was incorporated in 2001 for the purpose of buying the assets of Stanfred Laminating Company. (R. 21-1, Def.'s Counterstatement ¶ 1.) Suke purchased the assets of Stanfred in May 2001, and since mat time Page 3 has been doing business as Stanfred Laminating Company. (Id. ¶¶ 3-4.)*fn2 Stanfred conducts a countertop fabrication business and is an employer party to a collective bargaining agreement with the Union. (Id. ¶ 5; R. 16-1, Pls.' Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶¶ 2-3.) Keith Burke serves as Stanfred's president. (R. 21-1, Def.'s Counterstatement ¶ 2.)

 II. Obligations under the Collective Bargaining Agreement

  A. Entering the Agreement

  On or about June 1, 2001, Defendant executed two written documents with the Union. (R. 21-1, Def.'s Counterstatement ¶¶ 6-7.) One document was the "Agreement between Stanfred Laminating Company and Chicago and Northeast District Council of Carpenters Local 1027" ("Agreement"). (Id, ¶ 6.) Earl E. Oliver signed this document as President of the Union, and Keith Burke signed as President of Stanfred. (Id.) The other document, signed at the same time, was the "Stanfred Laminating Memorandum of Understanding" ("Memorandum"). (Id) Bill Casey signed this document as Vice President of the Union, and Burke signed as President of Stanfred. (Id.)

  B. Obligations Created by the Agreement

  The Agreement binds Defendant to pay fringe benefit contributions to Plaintiffs on a monthly basis according to the rates set forth in the Agreement. (R. 16-1, Pls.' Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶ 3.) The Agreement requires Defendant to make fringe benefit contributions for each hour worked by its carpenter employees, and requires Defendant to make these payments each month. (Id. ¶¶ 4-5.) Defendant had an obligation to pay a certain amount to the Pension Page 4 Trust Fund for every hour worked by bargaining unit employees up to 175 hours per month for each employee. (R. 21-1, Def.'s Counterstatement ¶ 8.) The parties disagree on the rate at which Defendant was required to make such contributions. Defendant states that the rate was $1.67 per hour at the start of the Agreement's period of applicability, but the Plaintiffs advocate a rate of $2.27 per hour at times and $2.38 per hour at other times. (Id. ¶¶ 8, 11; R 19-1, Def.'s Resp. to Pls.' Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶ 7; R. 16-1, Pls.' Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶ 7, Tab 4.) The Agreement provides for the reopening of negotiations for wage rates for the contract year of June 1, 2003 to May 31, 2004, and for the ...


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