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.
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,
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).
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
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
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
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 ...