Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund v. John R. Concrete & Supply Co.

August 27, 2008

CENTRAL STATES, SOUTHEAST AND SOUTHWEST AREAS PENSION FUND, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
JOHN R. CONCRETE & SUPPLY COMPANY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-yeghiayan, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on Defendant John R. Concrete & Supply Company's ("JRCSC") and John R. Sand & Gravel Company's ("JRSGC") motion to transfer. For the reasons stated below, we grant the motion to transfer.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs, Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund and Howard McDougall, (collectively referred to as the "Fund"), allege that JRCSC was subject to certain collective bargaining agreements with a Local Union affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters ("Union") and was required to make contributions to the Fund on behalf of certain employees. According to the Fund, JRCSC and JRSGC are brother-sister corporations, under common control by a trust and, as such, constitute a single employer under the Employee Retirement Income Securities Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et. seq. ("ERISA"). The Fund alleges that, on December 9, 2006, JRCSC ceased to have an obligation to the Fund, which constituted a "complete withdrawal" by both JRCSC and JRSGC, pursuant to ERISA. (Compl. Par. 17). The Fund claims that by withdrawing from the Fund, Defendants incurred withdrawal liability to the Fund in the amount of $317,348.25. On August 17, 2007, Defendants were allegedly given notice of the withdrawal liability and a demand for payment and on September 19, 2007, Defendants were notified that their payments were past due. On November 13, 2007, JRCSC allegedly requested a review of the assessment, contending that it was entitled to a certain exemption pursuant to ERISA. The Fund alleges that on April 2, 2008, the Fund provided a response to the request for review, rejecting JRCSC's position and reaffirming the assessment. According to the Fund, Defendants failed to timely initiate arbitration with respect to their withdrawal liability within the statutory period and, as such, Defendants have waived all challenges to the withdrawal liability.

The Fund brought the instant action on May 28, 2008, seeking a judgment against Defendants, pursuant to Section 502(g) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2), for the full amount of the withdrawal liability. Defendants filed the instant motion to transfer venue to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

LEGAL STANDARD

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) ("Section 1404(a)"), a district court may transfer a civil action to another district if such a transfer is appropriate and if it is done "[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, [and] in the interest of justice. . . ." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). In order to transfer a case pursuant to Section 1404(a), the transferor court must first find that: (1) venue is proper in the transferor district, and (2) venue is proper in the transferee district. See Coffey v. Van Dorn Iron Works, 796 F.2d 217, 219 (7th Cir. 1986); 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a)(stating that transfer can only be made to a district in which the action "might have been brought"). The moving party has the burden of "establishing . . . that the transferee forum is clearly more convenient." Coffey, 796 F.2d at 219.

DISCUSSION

Defendants move to transfer this action, pursuant to Section 1404(a), to the Eastern District of Michigan. According to Defendants, venue and jurisdiction is proper both in the Northern District of Illinois and the Eastern District of Michigan. However, Defendants argue that the Eastern District of Michigan is clearly a more convenient forum since: (1) both JRCSC and JRSGC are located and do business in Michigan, (2) all of the plan beneficiaries reside in Michigan, and (3) all relevant documents related to the Fund's claims are located in Michigan.

I. Venue in Transferor and Transferee Districts

Defendants argue, as an initial matter, that venue is proper in both the Northern District of Illinois and the Eastern District of Michigan. In order for a case to be transferred, the district court must first find that venue is proper in both the transferor district and the transferee district. Coffey, 796 F.2d at 219; 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Under ERISA, venue is proper "in the district where the plan is administered, where the breach took place, or where a defendant resides or may be found. . . ." 19 U.S.C. § 1132(e)(2). Both parties are in agreement that venue is proper in both the Northern District of Illinois, since that is where the Fund is administered, as well as the Eastern District of Michigan, since that is where both Defendants are located. Therefore, Defendants have met their first burden under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) of showing that venue is proper in the transferor and transferee districts.

II. Most Convenient Forum

The central dispute between Defendants and the Fund, relating to the motion to transfer, involves the issue of whether the Eastern District of Michigan is clearly a more convenient forum than the Northern District of Illinois. If venue is proper in both the transferor and transferee districts, as is the case in the instant action, the transferor court must then consider: (1) the choice of forum by plaintiff, (2) the convenience of the parties, (3) the convenience of the witnesses, and (4) the interest of justice. Federal Deposit Ins. Corp. v. Citizens Bank and Trust Co. of Park Ridge, Ill., 592 F.2d 364, 368 (7th Cir. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.