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Sheetmetal Workers Local Union Et v. Savvy Sheet Metal

March 2, 2011

SHEETMETAL WORKERS LOCAL UNION ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
SAVVY SHEET METAL, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Joseph H. Rodriguez

NO. 22,

MEMORANDUM ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on an unopposed motion of Plaintiffs Sheet Metal Workers Local Union No. 22, Sheet Metal Workers Local 22 Welfare, Pension, Annuity, Education, Vacation and Unemployment Funds and the Boards of Trustees thereof and the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union No. 22 PAC Fund against Defendant Savvy Sheet Metal (collectively, "Plaintiffs") seeking entry of default judgment against Defendant Savvy Sheet Metal [Dkt. Entry No. 19]. The Court has considered the submissions of the Plaintiffs and notes that Defendant has not responded to the motion. For the reasons expressed below, Plaintiffs' motion will be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

Because the Defendant has not responded in any way, all facts are taken from the Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint [Dkt. Entry No. 6] and the certification and affidavit accompanying the Motion for Default Judgment [Dkt. Entry No. 19]. Plaintiff Sheet Metal Workers Local Union No. 22 ("Union") is an unincorporated labor organization that represents employees of employers who are parties to a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") with the Sheet Metal Contractors' Association of Union, Somerset, and Sussex Counties, New Jersey Chapter, Inc. ("Association"). (Am. Comp. ¶ 2.) The Association represents employers of persons who are represented by the Union in the collective bargaining agreement. (Id.) Defendant Savvy Sheet Metal ("Defendant") is an employer whose employees are represented by the Union and is bound by the CBA. (Id. at ¶ 3.)

Sheet Metal Workers Local 22 Welfare, Pension, Annuity Education, Vacation and Unemployment Funds and the Boards of Trustees thereof and the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union No. 22 PAC Funds ("Plaintiff Trusts") are trusts or parts of trusts established pursuant to Section 302(c)(5) of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 186(c)(5) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA") , 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et seq. (Id. at ¶ 1.) The Plaintiff Trusts provide for pension, welfare and annuity, and other benefits for employees of employers that are parties to the CBA. (Id.)

The CBA requires Defendant to make payments to the Plaintiff Trusts in certain specified amounts, in accordance with the trust agreements and the procedures specified by the trustees, by the twentieth day of each month for the amounts owed in the previous month. (Id. at ¶¶ 6-8.) Plaintiffs allege that Defendant failed to remit payments to the Plaintiff Trusts from May 1, 2008 to June 30, 2008 in the amount of $6,576.64. (Id. at ¶ 9.) Plaintiffs seek damages in the amount of the principle sum due, interest, liquidated damages, reasonable attorney's fees, and costs of suit pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g). (Id. at ¶ 11.)

II. JURISDICTION

Before entering default judgment against a party that has not filed a responsive pleading, "the district court has an affirmative duty to look into its jurisdiction both over the subject matter and the parties." Williams v. Life Sav. & Loan, 802 F.2d 1200, 1203 (10th Cir. 1986); Ayers v. Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A., 99 F.3d 565, 569 (3d Cir. 1996) ("In order to impose personal liability upon a defendant or obligate him or her in favor of a plaintiff, a court must be vested with jurisdiction over the parties as well as subject matter jurisdiction.").

The Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. This action involves a federal question because the dispute arises under the LMRA and ERISA. Section 301(a) of the LMRA provides that contractual disputes "between an employer and a labor organization representing employees in an industry affecting commerce . . . may be brought in any district court of the United States having jurisdiction of the parties, without respect to the amount in controversy or without regard to the citizenship of the parties." 29 U.S.C. § 185(a). Because this action involves Defendant's alleged violation of the parties' collective bargaining agreement, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a) is applicable. Further, section 515 of ERISA states that "[e]very employer who is obligated to make contributions to a multiemployer plan under the terms of the plan or under the terms of a collectively bargained agreement shall, to the extent not inconsistent with law, make such contributions in accordance with the terms and conditions of such plan or such agreement." 29 U.S.C. § 1145. Because the Complaint alleges Defendant is an employer that is obligated to make contributions in accordance with the agreement, 29 U.S.C. § 1145 is also applicable.*fn1

The Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant because its principal offices are located in Moorestown, New Jersey.

III. DEFAULT JUDGMENT STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55 governs the entry of default judgment. The Rule provides:

(a) Entering a Default. When a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or ...


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