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Bricklayers and Allied v. John Eddis Construction

March 26, 2013

BRICKLAYERS AND ALLIED CRAFTWORKERS LOCAL 5 OF NEW JERSEY PENSION & ANNUITY FUNDS, ET AL. PLAINTIFFS,
v.
JOHN EDDIS CONSTRUCTION, LCC, ET AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hillman, District Judge:

OPINION

Presently before the Court is the Motion for Default Judgment of Plaintiffs Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 5 of New Jersey Pension & Annuity Funds ("Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Funds") and Richard E. Tolson, their trustee and fiduciary (collectively hereinafter "Plaintiffs"). [Doc. No. 11.] This motion is not opposed by Defendants John Eddis Construction, LCC and JPE Construction, Inc. ("Defendants"). For the reasons expressed below, the Court will grant Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment as to Defendants.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This cause of action arises out Defendants' alleged failure to remit required payments for the benefit of its employees pursuant to the parties' Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA"), Policy for Delinquent Contributions ("Delinquency Collections Policy"), and Restated Agreement and Declaration of Trust ("Trust Agreement"). Plaintiff Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Funds are employee benefit plans authorized to sue in their own name under Section 502(d)(1) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1132(d)(1). (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 3,4.) Plaintiff Richard E. Tolson is the trustee and fiduciary of the Funds within the meaning of 29 U.S.C. § 1002(21)(A). (Id. ¶ 5.) Defendants John Eddis Construction, LLC ("John Eddis Construction") and JPE Construction, Inc. ("JPE Construction") are construction businesses operating in Woodbury Heights, New Jersey. (Id. ¶¶ 8-10.)

Defendants previously entered into a CBA with Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers's Union, according to which they were required to make contributions to the Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Funds on behalf of company employees. (Id. ¶¶ 12, 13.) In conjunction with the CBA, the parties likewise entered into the aforementioned Trust Agreement and Delinquency Collections Policy. (Id. ¶¶ 13, 14.) Plaintiffs presently contend that Defendants have failed to remit certain required contributions to the Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Funds for the period spanning from May 9, 2011 through May 20, 2011. (Id. ¶ 15.) As such, Plaintiffs, on behalf of their trustees, committee members, participants and beneficiaries, seek repayment, plus interest and damages, in accordance with the Delinquency Collections Policy under the Trust Agreement.

On January 4, 2012, Plaintiffs filed a complaint against Defendant John Eddis Construction. [Doc. No. 1.] Service of the summons and complaint was made on Defendant on January 6, 2012 by personally serving Jamie Eddis, an authorized agent of the company. [Doc. Nos. 2 & 3.] Subsequently, on June 11, 2012, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint wherein they named JPE Construction as an additional Defendant. [Doc. No. 6.] Service of the summons and complaint was made on both Defendants on June 15, 2012, by once again personally serving Jamie Eddis at the Defendants' place of business in Woodbury, New Jersey. [Doc.

Nos. 8 & 9.]

To date, however, Defendants have not entered an appearance or filed a responsive pleading in this case. Following the expiration of time to respond, Plaintiffs filed a Request for Default for failure to plead or otherwise defend on July 19, 2012, which the Clerk of Court entered on July 20, 2012. [Doc. No. 10]. Plaintiffs then filed the instant Motion for Default Judgment on August 3, 2012. [Doc. No. 11.] Defendants have not responded in opposition to this Motion. Accordingly, it is now ripe for judicial review.

II. JURISDICTION

The Court has federal question subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.*fn1 Specifically, this matter was brought under Section 502 and 515 of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1132 and § 1145, and Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1132.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Default judgment is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55, which states, in relevant part, as follows:

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 otherwise, the clerk must enter the party's default.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a). After an entry of default is entered pursuant to Rule 55(a), the plaintiff may seek the Court's entry of default judgment under either Rule 55(b)(1) or Rule 55(b)(2).*fn2 Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co. v. Starlight Ballroom Dance Club, Inc., 175 F. App'x 519, 521 (3d Cir. 2006) (citing 10A Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure ยง 2682, at 13 (3d ed. 1998)). After a default judgment is entered, "the factual allegations of the complaint, except those relating to the amount of damages, will be taken as true." Comdyne I, Inc. v. ...


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