United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
October 7, 2004.
LABORERS' PENSION FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
MATRIX CONSTRUCTION CO. and OSCAR GARCIA, individually, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: HARRY LEINENWEBER, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Presently before the Court is Plaintiffs' unopposed Motion for
Summary Judgment. For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' Motion
On June 27, 2001, Matrix entered into a Collective Bargaining
Agreement with the Laborers' District Council of Chicago. The
Agreement stipulated that Employers would make certain
contributions to Pension and Welfare Funds. (Building Agreement
at 17). The Agreement also contained a remedy for employer
delinquency in fund contributions:
A grace period of thirty (30) days shall be granted
for Employers to submit reports and contributions as
provided. Said reports and contributions not received
during the grace period shall be assessed liquidated
damages amounting to ten (10%) percent of the amount
of the contributions which are owed. . . . In
addition, the delinquent contributions shall bear
interest at a maximum legal rate of interest per
annum from the due date until they are paid. Further, in the event the Trustees refer the account
to legal counsel for collection, the delinquent
Employer shall be liable for reasonable attorneys'
fees and for all reasonable costs incurred in the
collection process, including court fees, audit fees,
Reasonable attorneys' fees shall mean: All reasonable
attorneys' fees in the amounts for which the Trustees
become legally bound to pay, including recovery of
liquidated damages, interests, audit costs, filing
fees, and any other expenses incurred by the
The Trustees of the aforementioned Welfare and
Pension Funds and the Union shall have the authority
to audit the books and records of a participating
Employer . . . whenever such examination is deemed
necessary for the purpose of compliance with the
provisions of this Agreement.
(Building Agreement, 18, 19).
Aware of its obligations under the Collective Bargaining
Agreement, Matrix made some contribution payments to the funds
from June of 2001 until it went out of business in March of 2003.
(Plaintiffs' Ex. A, pg. 6, 14). In response to Matrix's
delinquency in contributing to the funds, the Laborers' District
Council conducted an audit of Matrix in November of 2003 and
found that Matrix owed the Funds $349,971.78 for unpaid
contributions, penalties, and audit costs. (Garcia Dep., Ex. 6).
Additionally, the Plaintiffs' attorney fees and costs associated
with the present litigation amounted to $13,785.00. (Plaintiff's
Ex. C). In his deposition, Oscar Garcia, a prior officer in
Matrix Construction Co., admitted that the audit "accurately
reflects the amount of money that Matrix would owe the fringe
benefit funds . . . based on the collective bargaining agreement." (Plaintiffs' Ex. A, Oscar
Dep., p. 11).
The Funds thereafter filed the present action to collect the
amount due to them under the Collective Bargaining Agreement,
pursuant to Section 515 of the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"). See 29 U.S.C. § 1145;
29 U.S.C. § 1132. The Plaintiffs now move for Summary Judgment, claiming that
there is no genuine issue of material fact regarding Matrix's
obligation to pay the Funds and regarding the amount due.
Defendants have not opposed Plaintiffs' motion.
II. LEGAL STANDARDS
Plaintiffs bring this Motion under Sections 502 and 515 of
ERISA, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132 (e) (1)(2) and 1145, and
Section 301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act (the "LMRA")
of 1947, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a), and 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Section 515 of ERISA mandates that "[e]very employer who is
obligated to make contributions to a multiemployer plan under the
terms of the plan or under the terms of a collectively bargained
agreement shall, to the extent not inconsistent with law, make
such contributions in accordance with the terms and conditions of
such plan or such agreement." Under 29 U.S.C. § 1002 (37), a
"multiemployer plan" is one
(i) to which more than one employer is required to
contribute, (ii) which is maintained pursuant to one or more
collective bargaining agreements between one or more
employee organizations and more than one employer,
(iii) which satisfies other requirements as the
Secretary may prescribe by regulation.
According to the Seventh Circuit, Section 515 of ERISA conveys
the right for "multiemployer plans," as defined in
29 U.S.C. § 1002(3) and (37), to enforce contribution obligations under the
terms of a governing collective bargaining agreement. See Central
States, Southeast & Southwest Areas Pension Fund, et al v. The
Kroger Co., 73 F. 3d 727, 731 (7th Cir. 1996). Therefore, in
deciding the Funds' claim under Section 515, the Court must first
determine whether the plans qualify as "multiemployer plans"
under the Act, and then the Court must analyze the applicable
dictates of "the contract at the heart of the Fund's claim."
Kroger, 73 F. 3d at 731.
Furthermore, a fund that is successful in an action under
Section 515 may receive various forms of relief. See
29 U.S.C. § 502 (g) (2), 29 U.S.C. § 1132 (g) (2). For instance, Section 515
permits a fiduciary, suing "for or on behalf of a plan to enforce
§ 515," to recover any unpaid contributions, interest on unpaid
contributions, reasonable attorneys' fees and costs, and any
other "legal or equitable relief as the court deems appropriate."
First, because Plaintiffs' Motion is unopposed, the
well-supported facts listed in the Local Rule 56.1 Statement of
Material Facts are deemed admitted. In its Statement of Material Facts,
Plaintiffs claim that they qualify as "multiemployer plans" under
the Act because (1) "[t]he Funds are maintained and administered
in accordance with § 312 (c) (5) of the LMRA, 29 U.S.C. § 186 (c)
(5)," and (2) "[t]hey are established pursuant to collective
bargaining agreements and Declarations of Trust previously
entered into between various unions and certain employer
associations whose employees are covered by the collective
bargaining agreements with the unions." Based on these
qualifications, the Funds meet the criteria set out by
29 U.S.C. § 1002(37) for a "multiemployer plan."
Second, the Collective Bargaining Agreement clearly obligated
Matrix, an Employer under the Agreement, to contribute to the
Funds and to remedy any delinquency in contribution. (Building
Agreement, 17-19). It is undisputed that Matrix did not meet its
contribution obligations for some period of time prior to the
litigation. Furthermore, Garcia, as an authorized representative
of Defendant Matrix, acknowledged in his deposition that the
Plaintiffs' audit was an accurate measure of the amount that
Matrix owed the Funds in unpaid contributions, penalties, costs,
and interest ($349,971.78). Matrix also did not dispute
Plaintiffs' computation of attorney fees and costs ($13,785.00).
(Plaintiffs' Ex. C). Therefore, there are no factual disputes concerning Matrix's
obligation to contribute to the funds or concerning the figures
submitted for the amount that Matrix owes. Since the forms of
relief requested by the Funds are all available under Section
515, and since it is undisputed that Matrix did not meet its
contribution obligations under the Collective Bargaining
Agreement, this Court grants Plaintiffs' motion for summary
judgment and awards $13,785.00 in attorneys fees and costs.
For the reasons set forth above, Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary
Judgment is GRANTED and attorneys' fees and costs in the amount
of $13,785.00 are awarded.
IT IS SO ORDERED. JUDGMENT IN A CIVIL CASE
 Jury Verdict. This action came before the Court for a trial
by jury. The issues have been tried and the jury rendered its
 Decision by Court. This action came to trial or hearing
before the Court. The issues have been tried or heard and a
decision has been rendered.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the motion for summary
judgment by plaintiffs' is granted and attorneys' fees and costs
are awarded in the amount of $13,785.00.
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