United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
EAST CENTRAL ILLINOIS PIPE TRADES HEALTH & WELFARE TRUST FUND, by and through its Board of Trustees, et al., Plaintiff,
RIVER VALLEY MECHANICAL SERVICE, INC., Defendant.
ORDER & OPINION
BILLY McDADE UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Default Judgment. (Doc. 11). As explained below,
Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment is granted.
12, 2016, Plaintiff filed its Complaint (Doc. 1) pursuant to
29 U.S.C. § 1145, claiming that Defendant failed to
comply with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of
1974 (“ERISA”). Plaint alleges that Defendant is
obligated to make contributions to Plaintiff in accordance
with collective bargaining agreements and other agreements
entered into between Defendant and Steamfitters Local 353
(Doc. 1 at 3). These agreements require, among other things,
that Defendant contribute to Plaintiff based on work
performed by members of Local 353. Id. at 5.
Additionally, Defendant is obligated to submit reports to
Plaintiff by the tenth of each month stating how many hours
were worked in the previous month by each person on whose
behalf contributions are to be made; to pay interest on any
untimely contributions, and to pay liquidated damages if
contributions are unpaid or untimely. Id. at 5-6.
Defendant is also obligated to pay Plaintiff's
attorney's fees if any action is brought to recover
delinquent contributions. Id. at 6.
Complaint, Plaintiff claims that Defendant has failed to
submit the necessary reports and has failed to make the
required contributions. Id. at 6-7. Additionally,
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant owes liquidated damages and
interest on those payments as well. Id. Defendant
was served with the Amended Complaint but has failed to
respond or otherwise defend in this action. (Doc. 11 at 2).
Defendant was subsequently found in default. Id.
judgment establishes, “as a matter of law, that
defendants are liable to plaintiff on each cause of
action.” e360 Insight v. Spamhaus Project, 500
F.3d 594, 602 (7th Cir. 2007). The well-pleaded facts of the
complaint relating to liability are taken as true upon
default. Dundee Cement Co. v. Howard Pipe & Concrete
Prods., Inc., 722 F.2d 1319, 1323 (7th Cir. 1983).
Defendant's default was entered on August 22, 2016.
Accordingly, Defendant is liable to Plaintiff under 29 U.S.C.
§ 1145 based on its failure to timely provide reports,
make contributions, or pay liquidated damages and interest
required by the collective bargaining agreement between
Defendant and Local 353, as alleged in the Complaint.
liability may be established from the well-pleaded facts of
the complaint, a plaintiff must still show it is entitled to
the amount of damages it seeks. Dundee Cement, 722 F.2d at
1323. Default judgment may not be granted without a hearing
on damages unless the amount of damages claimed is
“capable of ascertainment from definite figures in the
documentary evidence or in detailed affidavits.”
Id. These damages must be ascertained with
“reasonable certainty.” In re Catt, 368 F.3d 789,
793 (7th Cir. 2004).
court finds in favor of a plan under 29 U.S.C. § 1145,
the plan can be awarded 1) the unpaid contributions; 2) any
interest owed on unpaid contributions; 3) the greater of
either the interest owed on unpaid contributions or the
liquidated damages for which the plan provides; 4) reasonable
attorneys' fees and costs of litigation; and 5) any other
legal or equitable relief the court finds appropriate. 29
U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2). Plaintiff requests damages in the
amount of $68, 665.29 plus attorneys' fees and costs in
the amount of $8, 056.98. (Doc. 11 at 3). To support the
figures, Plaintiff has submitted an affidavit from Mel Cox,
who works for Healthscope Benefits, the firm entitled to
receive and process the fringe benefit contributions. (Doc.
11-3 at 1). The affidavit details the calculation of damages
through Remittance Reports, and is accompanied by several
spreadsheets and other documentary evidence showing the
amount of unpaid contributions, interest, and liquidated
damages. (Docs. 11-1; 11-2). The Court has reviewed the
materials Plaintiff submitted with its Motion, and has
determined Plaintiff has adequately supported its damages
request with documentary evidence. As shown by the
documentary evidence and detailed affidavits, Defendant owes
a total of $68, 665.29 to Plaintiff for unpaid benefit
contributions, interest, and liquidated damages. (See Doc.
also asks that it be awarded $8, 056.98 for attorneys'
fees and costs. (Doc. 11 at 3). Plaintiff has provided three
affidavits from James R. Kimmey, each accompanied by an
itemization of attorney hours worked on this matter, the
hourly rate at which the attorney worked, and the amount of
costs incurred. (Doc. 11-4 at 1-4). Plaintiff's attorneys
charged $195 per hour for 33.9 hours and $90 per hour for
9.15 hours. (Doc. 11-4 at 3, Doc. 11-5 at 3, Doc. 11-6 at 3).
Cavanagh & O'Hara requested a total of $7, 434 in
fees and $649.98 in costs, for a requested total of $8,
awarding fees under § 1132(g)(2)(D), courts must
determine whether the rate charged and the amount of time
spent was reasonable. See Anderson v. AB Painting &
Sandblasting Inc., 578 F.3d 542, 544-46 (7th Cir. 2009).
The Court finds the rate charged by Plaintiff's counsel
is a reasonable hourly rate.
THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion for Default
Judgment (Doc. 11) is GRANTED. Plaintiff is AWARDED $68,
665.29 in unpaid contributions, interest, and liquidated
damages, and $ 8, 056.98 in attorneys' fees and costs.
The Clerk is ...