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Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund and Howard Mcdougall v. Allied Systems

June 13, 2011

CENTRAL STATES, SOUTHEAST AND SOUTHWEST AREAS PENSION FUND AND HOWARD MCDOUGALL, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ALLIED SYSTEMS, LTD. AND TRANSPORT SUPPORT, L.L.C., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, the motion for summary judgment is granted.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund (Fund) is an employee benefit plan and trust. Plaintiff Howard McDougall is a trustee of the Fund. Defendant Allied Systems, Ltd. (Allied) and Defendant Transport Support, L.L.C. (Transport) allegedly entered into collective bargaining agreements with various unions and pursuant to such agreements, Defendants have agreed to pay certain contributions to the Fund. Defendants allegedly failed to make the required contributions for the months of July 2009 and August 2009. Plaintiffs also contend that although Defendants paid the owed contributions for May 2010, the payments were delinquent. The Fund brought the instant action pursuant to The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. seeking to recover the unpaid contributions. Defendants originally filed an answer to the complaint and a counterclaim. However, Defendants subsequently filed an amended answer that did not include a counterclaim. Plaintiffs now move for summary judgment.

LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, reveals that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Smith v. Hope School, 560 F.3d 694, 699 (7th Cir. 2009). A "genuine issue" in the context of a motion for summary judgment is not simply a "metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Insolia v. Philip Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 599 (7th Cir. 2000). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must consider the record as a whole, in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Bay v. Cassens Transport Co., 212 F.3d 969, 972 (7th Cir. 2000).

DISCUSSION

Plaintiffs seek to recover the unpaid contributions by Defendants as well as liquidated damages and interest. Although Defendants do not dispute that they owe contributions, Defendants oppose the request by Plaintiffs for liquidated damages and interest.

I. Contributions Owed

Plaintiffs argue that it is undisputed that Defendants still owe contributions for July 2009 and August 2009. Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1145 (Section 1145) of ERISA, "[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." Id. In addition, it is undisputed that Defendants entered into a Pension Fund Trust Agreement (Trust Agreement), which provides that "[e]ach Employer shall remit continuing and prompt contributions to the Trust Fund as required by the applicable collective bargaining agreement to which the Employer is a party." (R SF Par. 15).

Plaintiffs contend that Transport owes $25,198.00 for unpaid contributions in July 2009 and $83,204.40 for unpaid contributions in August 2009 for a total of $108,402.40. (Mem. SJ. 7). Plaintiffs contend that Allied owes $990,114.60 for unpaid contributions in July 2009 and $2,008,524.20 for unpaid contributions in August 2009 for a total of $2,998,638.80. (Mem. SJ. 7). Defendants do not dispute that they were obligated to make the contributions. (R SF Par. 11-16, 25-28). Defendants also admit that they have not paid the contributions. (R SF Par. 23-24); (Ans. Mot. 1). Therefore, to the extent that Plaintiffs move for summary judgment on the issue of the reimbursement for unpaid contributions for July 2009 and August 2009, the motion for summary judgment is granted.

II. Liquidated Damages

Plaintiffs also seek liquidated damages against Defendants. Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2) (Section 1132(g)(2)),

In any action under this subchapter by a fiduciary for or on behalf of a plan to enforce [Section 1145] in which a judgment in favor of the plan is ...


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