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Hudson County Carpenters Local Union No. 6 v. V.S.R. Construction Corp.

January 3, 2001

HUDSON COUNTY CARPENTERS LOCAL UNION NO. 6, CARPENTERS LOCAL UNION NO. 6 BENEFIT FUNDS, AND ZAZZALI, FAGELLI & NOWAK, P.A., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
V.S.R. CONSTRUCTION CORP., V.S.R. CONSTRUCTION, V.S.R. CONSTRUCTION SPECIALTIES, V.S.R. CONSTRUCTION SPECIALTIES, INC., V.S.R. CONSTRUCTION, INC., MELCON CONSTRUCTION CORP., VISTA DRYWALL, VINCENT MAURO, AND RANDI MAURO,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Debevoise, Senior District Judge.

FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Plaintiffs in this action are a labor union, its pension and welfare trust funds, and the law firm that represents them. Alleging alter ego, single employer, successorship, common control, and veil piercing theories of liability, plaintiffs filed this action to recover judgments owed to them by defendants V.S.R. Construction Corp. and Melcon Construction Corp. ("the judgment defendants"). The judgments were incurred as a result of the judgment defendants' failure to make contributions to the trust funds as required by the terms of collective bargaining agreements entered into by the parties. Defendants V.S.R. Construction Specialties, Vista Drywall Corp., Vincent Mauro, and Randi Mauro ("the non-judgment defendants") move to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, lack of personal jurisdiction, and failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. For the reasons set forth herein, the non-judgment defendants' motion will be granted as to defendants Vincent Mauro and Randi Mauro, and denied as to the corporate defendants.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

Plaintiff Hudson County Carpenters Local Union No. 6 ("the Union") is an unincorporated labor organization. Plaintiffs Carpenters Union Local No. 6 Benefit Funds ("the Funds") are unincorporated, multiemployer pension and welfare trust funds subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. Plaintiff Zazzali, Fagella & Nowak ("the Firm") is a law firm that represents the Union and the Funds.

Under the collective bargaining agreements *fn1 and two individuated "short form agreements" that incorporate the collective bargaining agreements (collectively, the "CBA"), the judgment defendants agreed to make fringe benefit contributions to the Funds on behalf of employees covered by the CBA. The judgment defendants failed to fulfill their obligations under the CBA, which precipitated the three arbitration awards entered against them. Plaintiffs sought to confirm the arbitration awards in three civil actions filed in this Court, and obtained three judgments against the judgment defendants as follows:

Civil Action No. Judgment Defendant Date of Judgment Amount of Judgment

97-1137 V.S.R. Constr. May 20, 1997 $67,051.11

98-4485 Melcon Constr. Nov. 2, 1998 $8,596.48

99-0620 V.S.R. Constr. Mar. 20, 1999 $50,109.06

To date, none of these judgments has been satisfied by the judgment defendants.

None of the non-judgment defendants was a party to the CBA, and none of them is named in the judgments entered in favor of the plaintiffs. In their First Amended Complaint, however, plaintiffs allege that V.S.R. Construction, V.S.R. Construction Specialties, V.S.R. Construction Specialties, Inc., V.S.R. Construction, Inc., and Vista Drywall Corp. are alter ego or successor companies to, or joint and single employers with, the judgment defendants. First Amended Complaint at ¶ 22. Plaintiffs further allege that the individual defendants, Vincent and Randi Mauro, are principals of the corporate entities and have failed to follow corporate formalities with the intent of evading the obligation to make contributions to the Funds and to avoid satisfaction of the judgments. First Amended Complaint at ¶ 23.

Applying these theories, plaintiffs seek to establish liability against the defendants for ...


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