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Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Pension Fund v. Cottage Grove Glass Co. Inc.

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

October 19, 2015

CHICAGO REGIONAL COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS PENSION FUND, et al. Plaintiffs,
v.
COTTAGE GROVE GLASS COMPANY INCORPORATED, et al. Defendants.

          Kevin P. McJessy One of Their Attorneys Kevin P. McJessy McJessy, Ching & Thompson, LLC

          PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR ENTRY OF JUDGMENT

          John Blakey Judge

         Plaintiffs Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Pension Fund et al. 's ("Plaintiffs") hereby move this Court to enter a judgment against defendants COTTAGE GROVE GLASS COMPANY INCORPORATED, a dissolved Illinois corporation and PATRICIA KING doing business as COTTAGE GROVE GLASS COMPANY INCORPORATED ("Defendants") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55. In support of their Motion, Plaintiffs state as follows.

         I. SUMMARY OF DAMAGES.

         For the reasons explained more fully below, this Court should award Plaintiffs $16, 621.67 in damages as follows:

(A) Unpaid Fringe Benefit Contributions

$2, 836.01

(H) Interest

$361.67

(C) Liquidated Damages

$902.94

(D) Auditors' Fees

$2, 565.00

(E) Attorneys' Fees and Costs

$9, 956.05

Total

$16, 621.67

         II. ENTRY OF JUDGMENT.

         A. Defendants' Default.

         On December 7, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a complaint against the Defendants under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") for unpaid fringe benefit contributions owed by Defendants pursuant to an audit conducted by Plaintiffs' designated auditor, Legacy Professionals, LLP ("Legacy") for the period October 19, 2015 through September 30, 2016. Plaintiffs' complaint also sought a judgment for all unpaid contributions, interest and liquidated damages, attorneys' fees and costs and auditors' fees pursuant to ERISA, the Area Agreements and the trust agreements to which Defendants are signatory.

         The complaint was served on Defendants on January 3, 2017. See Affidavits of Service, Docket Nos. 5-6. The affidavits of service were filed with the Clerk of Court on January 4, 2017. See Affidavits of Service, Docket Nos. 5-6. Defendants failed to answer or appear. This Court entered an order of default against Defendants on May 4, 2017. See Order, Docket Report No. 18. That order provides in part that:

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a), an order of default is hereby entered in favor of the CHICAGO REGIONAL COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS PENSION FUND ET AL. ("Trust Funds") and against defendants COTTAGE GROVE GLASS COMPANY INCORPORATED, a dissolved Illinois corporation; PATRICIA KING doing business as COTTAGE GROVE GLASS COMPANY INCORPORATED (collectively "Defendants"). Defendants are hereby ordered:

A. to provide the Trust Funds or their designated auditors, Legacy Professionals, LLP complete access to Defendant's books and records within twenty-one (21) days of the date of entry of this Order so that the Trust Funds may complete an audit of Defendant's fringe benefit contributions for the period October 19, 2015 through September 30, 2016;
B. to pay any and all amounts the Trust Funds may discover to be due pursuant to the audit, 29 U.S.C. §1132(g)(2)(A);
C. to pay auditor's fees incurred by the Trust Funds to complete the audit of Defendant's books and records, 29 U.S.C. §1132(g)(2)(E);
D. to pay interest on the amount that is due, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2)(B);
E. to pay interest or liquidated damages on the amount that is due, whichever is greater, 29 U.S.C. §1132(g)(2)(C); and
F. to pay reasonable attorneys' fees and costs the Trust Funds incurred in this action and attorneys' fees that the Trust Funds incur to obtain full compliance with this Order and to collect any amounts due and owing to the Trust Funds, 29 U.S.C. §1132(g)(2)(D).

         It is further ordered that the Court reserves the right to award such other and further relief as the Court deems just and equitable.

See Order, May 4, 2017, Docket Report No. 18. Defendant Martin Grant was dismissed without prejudice on May 4, 2017. See Plaintiffs' Ex Parte Motion to Dismiss Defendant Martin Grant Without Prejudice Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4, Docket Report No. 12.

         After the entry of the order of default on May 4, 2017 and after entry of a rule to show cause, Plaintiffs were able to conduct an audit of Defendants' books and records which revealed unpaid fringe benefit contributions in the amount of $2, 836.01. See Declaration of K. Guastaferri ¶¶6-7, Exhibit A; Order, June 30, 2017, Docket Report No. 21; Order, July 12, 2017, Docket Report No. 22; Order, August 2, 2017, Docket Report No. 25; Order, September 14, 2017, Docket Report No. 26.

         After completion of the audit, Plaintiffs asked Defendants for additional information on December 22, 2017 but Defendants did not produce any additional documents in response to the audit. See Letter from K. McJessy to P. King, December 22, 2017, Exhibit D.

         B. Damages for Unpaid Fringe Benefit Contributions.

         Defendants are bound by the Area Agreement with the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters ("Union"). See Declaration of K. Guastaferri ¶3, Exhibit A. Under ERISA, Defendants are liable to Plaintiffs for any unpaid fringe benefit contributions. ERISA states as follows:

In any action under this subchapter by a fiduciary for or on behalf of a plan to enforce section 1145 of this title in which a judgment in favor of the plan is awarded, the court shall award the plan- (A) the unpaid contributions ....

See 29 U.S.C. §1132(g)(2)(A). The audit of Defendants' books and records revealed unpaid fringe benefit contributions in the amount of $2, 836.01. See Declaration of K. Guastaferri ¶¶6-7, Exhibit A; Order, May 4, 2017, Docket Report No. 18. Accordingly, this Court should award Plaintiffs $2, 836.01 for unpaid fringe benefit contributions.

         C. Interest.

         Under ERISA, 29 U.S.C. §1132, Plaintiffs are entitled to collect interest on the unpaid contributions. Section 1132(g)(2)(B) provides as follows:

(2) In any action under this subchapter by a fiduciary for or on behalf of a plan to enforce section 1145 of this title in which a judgment in favor of the plan is ...

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