United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
CENTRAL LABORERS' PENSION FUND, CENTRAL LABORERS' WELFARE FUND, CENTRAL LABORERS' ANNUITY FUND, ILLINOIS LABORERS' & CONTRACTORS JOINT APPRENTICESHIP & TRAINING PROGRAM, LABORERS' OF ILLINOIS VACATION FUND, NORTH CENTRAL ILLINOIS HEALTH & WELFARE FUND, MIDWEST REGION ORGANIZING COMMITTEE, MIDWEST REGION FOR FAIR CONTRACTING, LABORERS' LOCAL 362, LABORERS' LOCAL 165, LABORERS' LOCAL 703, SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING PROGRAM, INDUSTRY ADVANCEMENT FUND, AND LABORERS-EMPLOYERS COOPERATION AND EDUCATION TRUST, Plaintiffs,
ACCURATE SITE SPECIALISTS, INC., Defendant.
ORDER & OPINION
BILLY McDADE United States Senior District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Default Judgment. (Doc. 17). As explained below,
Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment is granted.
November 30, 2015, Plaintiffs filed their 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”). Plaintiffs allege that
Defendant is obligated to make contributions to Plaintiffs in
accordance with collective bargaining agreements and other
agreements entered into between Defendant and Laborers'
International Union of North America. (Doc. 1 at 2). These
agreements require, among other things, that Defendant
contribute to Plaintiff employee benefit funds based on work
performed by members of Laborers' Local Unions Numbers
362, 165, 703. (Doc. 1 at 3). Additionally, Defendant is
obligated to allow Plaintiffs to examine Defendant's
payroll books and records to determine whether Defendant is
paying Plaintiffs all required contributions and to pay
liquidated damages if contributions are unpaid or untimely.
(Doc. 1 at 3-4). Defendant is also obligated to pay
Plaintiff's attorney's fees and costs if any action
is brought to recover delinquent contributions. (Doc. 1 at
Complaint, Plaintiffs claim that Defendant has failed to
provide Plaintiffs with its payroll and other business
records for purposes of an audit and has failed to make the
required contributions. (Doc. 1 at 4). Additionally,
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant owes liquidated damages and
interest on those payments as well. (Doc. 1 at 5).
February 10, 2016, Defendant was served with Summons and a
copy of the Complaint. See July 22, 2016 Text Order.
Defendant was required to appear, plead, or otherwise defend
the action by March 2, 2016. Id. Defendant did not
appear, plead, or otherwise defend the action by March 2,
2016. Id. On July 21, Plaintiffs filed a renewed
Application for Entry of Default. (Doc. 6). On July 22, 2016,
Judge Hawley granted Plaintiffs' Renewed Application for
Entry of Default and entered an Entry of Default.
See July 22, 2016 Text Order.
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 July 22, 2016.
Accordingly, Defendant is liable to Plaintiffs under 29
U.S.C. § 1145 based on its failure provide access to its
payroll records, make contributions, or pay liquidated
damages and interest required by the collective bargaining
agreement between Defendant and Plaintiffs, as alleged in the
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). Plaintiffs have submitted a
copy of the audit to support these amounts. (Doc. 17-1).
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 $1, 727.20 plus attorneys' fees and costs in
the amount of $4, 791.54. (Doc. 17 at 6). To support the
figures, Plaintiff has submitted the audit report from Romolo
& Associates, the firm audited Defendant's employee
benefit contributions. (Doc. 17-1 at 1-14). The audit report
details the missing contributions, and is accompanied by
several spreadsheets and other documentary evidence showing
the amount of unpaid contributions, interest, and liquidated
damages. (Doc. 17-1). 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 $1, 727.20
to Plaintiff for unpaid benefit contributions, audit costs,
and liquidated damages.
also asks that it be awarded $4, 791.54 for attorneys'
fees and costs. (Doc. 17-3). Plaintiff has provided an
itemized recording of the hourly rate, amount of time, and
work provided by Attorney Jacob Blickhan, as well as the
amount of costs incurred. (Doc. 17-3). Plaintiffs'
attorney charged $150 per hour for 8.7 hours and $175 per
hour for 16.05 hours. (Doc. 17-3 at 3). Cavanagh &
O'Hara requested a total of $4, 113.75 in fees and
$677.79 in costs, for a requested total of $4, 791.54.
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. 17) is GRANTED. Plaintiff is AWARDED $1,
727.20 in unpaid contributions, audit costs, and liquidated
damages, and $4, 791.54 in attorneys' fees and costs. The
Clerk is ...