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Iron Workers'Mid-America Pension Plan v. Security Industries, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

February 12, 2014

IRON WORKERS' MID-AMERICA PENSION PLAN; JOSEPH J. BURKE; IRON WORKERS' MID-AMERICA SUPPLEMENTAL ANNUITY FUND; IRON WORKERS' LOCAL 395 FRINGE BENEFIT FUNDS; and LOCAL UNION 395 OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BRIDGE, STRUCTURAL, ORNAMENTAL & REINFORCING IRON WORKERS, Plaintiffs,
v.
SECURITY INDUSTRIES, INC., an Indiana corporation; and DANN.Y.S. JONES, an individual, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge.

Plaintiffs have brought this action against Defendant, Security Industries, Inc. ("Securities Industries"), to recover, inter alia, unpaid fringe benefit contributions, wage deductions and union dues, under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132, 1145, and the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 185 ("LMRA"). Plaintiffs also assert a pendent state law claim to enforce a promissory note against both Security Industries and Defendant Danny S. Jones. Plaintiffs have moved for summary judgment, arguing that the amounts due are undisputed. The matter has been fully briefed. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiffs' Motion [11] is granted.

BACKGROUND

Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires a party moving for summary judgment to provide "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue...." Local Rule 56.1(b)(3) requires the nonmoving party to admit or deny each factual statement proffered by the moving party and to concisely designate any material facts that establish a genuine dispute for trial. See Schrott v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 403 F.3d 940, 944 (7th Cir. 2005); see also EEOC v. Caterpillar Inc., 503 F.Supp.2d 995, 1011n.14 (N.D. Ill. 2007). The failure to dispute any facts in an opponent's statement in the manner dictated by Local Rule 56.1 deems those facts admitted for purposes of summary judgment. Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003). Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) further permits the non-movant to submit a statement "of any additional facts that require the denial of summary judgment...." To the extent that a response to a statement of material fact provides only extraneous or argumentative information, this response will not constitute a proper denial of the fact, and the fact is admitted. See Graziano v. Vill. of Oak Park, 401 F.Supp.2d 918, 936 (N.D. Ill. 2005). Similarly, to the extent that a statement of fact contains a legal conclusion or otherwise unsupported statement, including a fact that relies upon inadmissible hearsay, such a fact is disregarded. Eisenstadt v. Centel Corp., 113 F.3d 738, 742 (7th Cir. 1997).

The majority of the operative facts in this case are undisputed. Plaintiffs, Iron Workers' Mid-America Pension Plan, Iron Workers' Mid-America Supplemental Annuity Fund (collectively, "Mid-America Funds"), and the Iron Workers' Local 395 Fringe Benefit Funds ("395 Funds") are jointly trusteed employee benefits trust funds that provide pension and welfare to their participants and related joint-labor management committees. (Pls.' Rule 56.1 Statement of Facts ("SOF") ¶ 1.) Plaintiff, Local Union 395 of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Iron Workers ("Local 395"), is a labor union with its principal office located in Portage, Indiana. (SOF ¶ 2.) Defendant Security Industries, Inc. ("Security Industries") was a corporation located in Hobart, Indiana, until it ceased operating in the first half of 2013; Defendant Jones was its president and a 50 percent shareholder. (SOF ¶ 3.)

Security Industries had various collective bargaining agreements with Local 395 and another union, Iron Workers Local 63 ("Local 63.) Pursuant to those agreements, Security Industries was required to report and pay fringe benefit contributions and wage deductions at contractual rates on behalf of the covered workers; late contributions and wage deductions were assessed liquidated damages and permitted the recovery of attorney's fees and costs against the employer. (SOF ¶¶ 7, 10, 13.) Specifically, with respect to the agreement with Local 395, Security Industries was required to report and pay fringe contributions to the Mid-America Funds, as well as other funds. Security Industries was also required to withhold specified amounts from its covered employees' wages and to pay such amounts to Local 395 and other related entities. Late contributions and wage deductions were to be assessed liquidated damages at the flat rate of 15 percent of the late contributions and wage deductions. (SOF ¶¶ 8-10.) With respect to Local 63, Security Industries was required to make contributions to various pension and welfare funds, including the Mid-America Funds; late contributions were to be assessed liquidated damages at the rate of 15 percent and made the employer liable for reasonable attorney's fees, as provided in the Mid-America Funds' Trust Agreements. (SOF ¶¶ 11-13.)

Delinquent Contributions and Liquidated Damages Based on Employer Reports

Security Industries submitted reports on the contributions and wage deductions with respect to work done by Local 395 and Local 63, which identified the total hours worked for which contributions and wage deductions were due, as well as the applicable contribution rates. (SOF ¶ 15.) Specifically, Security Industries submitted reports for Local 395 work for September 2012 and January 2013 through March 2013 without full payment of all contributions due thereon. (SOF ¶ 16.) Based on those reports, Plaintiffs claim that Security Industries owes Local 395 and the 395 Funds contributions and wage deductions totaling $99, 641.77, and liquidated damages in the amount of $14, 946.27, calculated at a rate of 15 percent. (SOF ¶ 17.)

Security Industries also submitted reports to Mid-America Funds for work in Local 63's jurisdiction for the months of September 2012 through November 2012 and January 2013 through March 2013, and for September 2012 and January 2013 through March 2013. Based on those reports, Plaintiffs claim that Security Industries owes the Mid-America Funds contributions totaling $104, 268.45, with liquidated damages in the amount of $4, 476.81. (SOF ¶¶ 19-20.) Furthermore, Security Industries paid late contributions to Mid-America Funds for May 2012 through September 2012, and owes $5, 154.69 in liquidated damages as a result. (SOF ¶ 22.)

The 395 Funds' Payroll Review

The 395 Funds, through Stewart C. Miller & Co., also conducted a payroll compliance report for the period April 1, 2012 to March 17, 2013. The resulting "Miller Report" identified additional contributions due from Security Industries to the 395 Funds totaling $51, 998.36, plus liquidated damages of $7, 799.75. Plaintiffs claim that, once outstanding debit memos of $341.56 due Security Industries are applied, the total due to the 395 Funds is $60, 139.67. (SOF ¶¶ 23-25.)

The Promissory Note

Security Industries was also delinquent with respect to contributions and wage deductions due Plaintiffs for work in Local 395's jurisdiction for May and June 2012. (SOF ¶ 26.) To cure that delinquency, Security Industries and Plaintiffs negotiated a Promissory Note, through which Security Industries agreed to pay $101, 477.66 by July 30, 2013. (SOF ¶ 26.) The Note further provided that Defendant Jones would be personally liable for any unpaid amounts due under the Note. (SOF ¶ 27.) Plaintiffs only received the first five payments due under the Note, leaving a balance due of $61, 267.83 (principal of $59.644.69 and $1, 623.14.). (SOF ¶ 29.)

Plaintiffs have moved for summary judgment against both Security Industries and Jones. Defendants do not dispute that they owe money to Plaintiffs, but rather contend that there is ...


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