United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS LOCAL NO. 49 Plaintiff,
FENCE CONNECTION INC. Defendant.
ORDER & OPINION
BILLY MCDADE UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Default Judgment (Docs. 4). For the reasons explained below,
Plaintiff's Motion is GRANTED.
January 22, 2018, Plaintiff filed a “Complaint for
Enforcement of Arbitration Award”
(“Complaint”) against Defendant Fence Connection,
Inc. (Doc. 1). The Complaint alleges that Fence Connection
entered into a Collective Bargaining Agreement (the
“Agreement”) with Plaintiff on July 19, 2013,
“under which Defendant adopted and agreed to be bound
by the terms and conditions of an agreement between Plaintiff
and Associated General Contractors of Illinois dated April 1,
2009, which, by its express terms, renewed on April 1, 2014
and April 1, 2017.” Id. ¶ 3. According to
Plaintiff, the Agreement required Defendant to request
referral to potential employees from Plaintiff. Id.
¶ 4. Fence Connection requested referral of an
individual to perform work as an operating engineer and
Plaintiff referred Charles Bensel. Id. Fence
Connection employed Bensel under the terms of the Agreement,
and it was required to pay him wages and fringe benefits as
set forth in the Agreement. Id. ¶ 5. Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant failed to make timely payment of wages
to Bensel. Id. ¶ 6.
forth in the Agreement, a dispute between Plaintiff and
Defendant was submitted to a labor management grievance
committee on May 31, 2017. Id. ¶ 8. On
September 22, 2017, the grievance committee rendered its
decision and issued an award for Plaintiff in the sum of $2,
272.35. Id. ¶ 9. Fence Connection was served
with a copy of the committee's decision on September 25,
2017, (Doc. 1-1), but Defendant has failed to comply with the
award in violation of Section 301 of the Labor Management
Relations Act of 1947 (“LMRA”), 29 U.S.C. §
185. Id. ¶¶ 1, 10-12.
docket in this case reflects that the Defendant's
registered agent, Juan Escobar Jr., was served a Summons and
copy of the Complaint on February 27, 2018. (Doc. 3). The
Defendant's answer or otherwise responsive pleading was
due on March 20, 2018. Defendant has failed to plead or
otherwise respond at all in this case. As a result, Plaintiff
filed a Motion for Default and Default Judgment on June 13,
2018. (Doc. 4). The Clerk of Court entered default on June
29, 2018. Plaintiff requests the Court enter judgment
confirming the award of the committee and directing Fence
Connection to make payment of $2, 272.35 payable to
Plaintiff, and that Plaintiff recover its reasonable attorney
fees and costs incurred in the sum of $1, 331.50.
the enactment of section 301 of the LMRA, “Congress
intended to create a uniform body of federal law to govern
the enforcement of collective bargaining agreements.”
Evans v. Einhorn, 855 F.2d 1245, 1250 (7th Cir.
1988). “With regard to arbitration provisions in
collective bargaining agreements, ” Section 301
“'authorizes federal courts to fashion a body of
federal law for the enforcement of these collective
bargaining agreements and includes within that federal law
specific performance of promises to arbitrate grievances
under collective bargaining agreements.'”
Id. (quoting Textile Workers Union v. Lincoln
Mills of Alabama, 353 U.S. 448, 450-51 (1957)).
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 June 29, 2018.
Accordingly, Defendant is liable to Plaintiff under 29 U.S.C.
§ 185 based on its failure to timely pay wages to
Plaintiff as required by the Agreement, as alleged in the
liability may be established from the well-pleaded facts of
the Complaint, 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).
grounds for default judgment are clearly established in this
case. Plaintiff requests damages in the amount of $2, 272.35
and attorney fees and costs in the amount of $1, 331.50.
(Doc. 4 at 2). To support its damages figure, Plaintiff has
submitted an affidavit from Anthony O'Brian, a Business
Agent for Plaintiff. (Doc. 4-2 at 1). O'Brian testified
to the truth of the allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint:
that Fence Connection entered into the Agreement with
Plaintiff on July 19, 2013 and a successor agreement on April
1, 2017; that Plaintiff referred workmen to Fence Connection
who earned wages and benefits as provided in the Agreement;
Fence Connection failed to pay the wages and benefits as
required; that O'Brian filed a grievance under the
Agreement's procedure, a hearing was held on May 31,
2017, and an award was rendered in Plaintiff's favor in
the amount of $2, 272.35; and that Defendant has failed to
pay the award. Id. at 1-2. Plaintiff also attached a
copy of the decision issued by the grievance committee
showing that Plaintiff is entitled to an award of $2, 272.35.
(Doc. 1-3). The Court has reviewed the aforementioned
materials, and has determined that Plaintiff has adequately
supported its damages request with documentary evidence.
Defendant owes a total of $2, 272.35 to Plaintiff for unpaid
wages and benefits.
also submitted an affidavit in support of attorney fees from
David W. Stuckel, an attorney with the law firm of Harvey
& Stuckel, Chtd., which represents Plaintiff. (Doc. 4-1).
The affidavit is accompanied by an itemization of attorney
hours worked on this matter, the hourly rate at which the
attorneys worked, and the amount of costs incurred.
Id. at 3. Plaintiff's attorneys charged $195.00
per hour for .7 hours and $210.00 per hour for 3.5 hours, for
a total of $871.50 in attorney fees. Id. They also
incurred $460.00 in costs, for a total of $1, 331.50 in total
fees and costs. Id. 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. 4) is GRANTED. Plaintiff is AWARDED $2, 272.35
in unpaid ...