United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
MID CENTRAL OPERATING ENGINEERS HEALTH AND WELFARE FUND, Plaintiff
ZOIE, LLC, Defendant.
ORDER & OPINION
BILLY MCDADE UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Default Judgment (Doc. 4). For the reasons discussed below,
Plaintiff's motion is GRANTED.
2, 2019, Plaintiff Mid Central Operating Engineers Health and
Welfare Fund filed a Complaint (Doc. 1) alleging Defendant
Zoie, LLC, failed to comply with the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C.
§§ 1132, 1145, the Labor Management Relations Act
of 1947, 29 U.S.C. § 185, and 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
(Doc. 1 at 1). Specifically, Plaintiff claims Defendant
failed to make certain contributions required by a Collective
Bargaining Agreement (“Agreement”) between the
parties, effective April 4, 2017, to present. (Docs. 1 at 3-
was served with the Complaint (Doc. 1) on May 10, 2019, and
was required to file an answer or other responsive pleading
by May 31, 2019. Defendant has not yet appeared or made any
filing. Default was entered against Defendant on June 25,
2019, and Plaintiff now seeks a default judgment against
Defendant in the amount of $34, 535.39, which represents
unpaid contributions, liquidated damages on unpaid
contributions, and interest, as well as all reasonable
attorney's fees and court costs incurred in this action.
(Doc. 1 at 4).
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permit the entry of a
default judgment against a defendant who fails to plead or
otherwise defend his case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55. Rule 55
establishes “two stages in a default proceeding: the
establishment of the default, and the actual entry of a
default judgment.” VLM Food Trading Int'l, Inc.
v. Ill. Trading Co., 811 F.3d 247, 255 (7th Cir. 2016)
(internal quotation marks omitted). “The basic effect
of an entry of default (step one) is that ‘[u]pon
default, the well-pleaded allegations of a complaint relating
to liability are taken as true' ” Id.
(quoting Dundee Cement Co. v. Howard Pipe & Concrete
Prods., Inc., 722 F.2d 1319, 1323 (7th Cir. 1983)). But
“while a default judgment conclusively establishes
liability, the victor must still prove up damages, ”
and the factual allegations contained in a nonverified
complaint do not enjoy the same presumption of truth at the
judgment phase (step two). Domanus v. Lewicki, 742
F.3d 290, 303 (7th Cir. 2014). To enter a default judgment,
the Court “must ascertain the amount of damages with
reasonable certainty.” In re Catt, 368 F.3d
789, 793 (7th Cir. 2004). “Under the law of this
circuit, judgment by default may not be entered without a
hearing on damages unless ‘the amount claimed is
liquidated or capable of ascertainment from definite figures
contained in the documentary evidence or in detailed
affidavits.' ” e360 Insight v. The Spamhaus
Project, 500 F.3d 594, 602 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting
Dundee Cement Co., 722 F.2d at 1323).
Default was entered against Defendant on June 25, 2019. The
entry of default here established Defendant's liability
for, inter alia, violating ERISA, 29 U.S.C. §
1145, which provides:
Every employer who is obligated to make contributions to a
multiemployer plan under the terms of the plan or under the
terms of a collectedly bargained agreement shall, to the
extent not inconsistent with law, make such contributions in
accordance with the terms and conditions of such agreement.
See also Dundee Cement Co., 722 F.2d at 1323 (noting
the effect of an entry of default is that “the
well-pleaded allegations of a complaint relating to liability
are taken as true”). When a court finds liability
pursuant to § 1145, it may award:
(A) the unpaid contributions,
(B) interest on the unpaid contributions,
(C) an amount equal to the ...