United States District Court, D. New Jersey
TRUSTEES OF THE NEW JERSEY B.A.C. HEALTH FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
RDM CONCRETE & MASONRY LLC, Defendant.
L. COOPER, United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on a motion for default
judgment against Defendant RDM Concrete & Masonry LLC
(“RDM”) by Plaintiffs: (1) Trustees of the New
Jersey B.A.C. Health Fund (the “Health Fund”);
(2) Trustees of the New Jersey B.A.C. Annuity Fund (the
“Annuity Fund”); (3) Trustees of the B.A.C. Local
5 of New Jersey Pension Fund (the “Local 5 Pension
Fund”); (4) Trustees of the New Jersey BM&P
Apprentice and Education Fund (the “Apprentice
Fund”); (5) Trustees of the Bricklayers & Trowel
Trades International Pension Fund (the “International
Pension Fund”); (6) Trustees of the International
Masonry Institute (the “IMI”); and (7) Richard
Tolson as Administrator of and on behalf of the B.A.C.
Administrative District Council of New Jersey (the
“Plaintiffs”). (Dkt. 6.) We have reviewed the
parties' submissions, and decide the motion without oral
argument. See L. Civ. R. 78.1(b). For the reasons
that follow, we will grant the Plaintiffs' motion.
case arises out of RDM's alleged failure to meet its
obligations under a Collective Bargaining Agreement
(“CBA”) between RDM and the Union. (Dkt. 1 at 5.)
The CBA establishes the terms and conditions of employment
for employees of RDM working as bricklayers, cement masons,
plasterers, pointer caulkers, cleaners, fire proofers, stone
masons, brick pavers, and exterior marble masons
(“Covered Work”). (Id.) In particular,
the CBA provides that RDM must make specified contributions
to the Health Fund, the Annuity Fund, the Local 5 Pension
Fund, the Apprentice Fund, the International Pension Fund,
and the IMI (collectively, the “Funds”) and
forward specified dues check-offs and other contributions to
the Union for each hour of Covered Work performed by
RDM's employees. (Id.) This case arises out of
work performed by RDM employees in May 2016 on a project in
Jamesburg, New Jersey. (Id.) According to the
Complaint, RDM failed to make $8, 706.77 in required
contributions to the Funds and failed to remit $952.41 in
required dues check-offs to the Union in connection with that
Plaintiffs moved for entry of default after RDM failed to
timely respond to the Complaint. (See dkt. 5.) The
Clerk of the Court entered default in favor of the Plaintiffs
in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). (See entry
following dkt. 5.) The Plaintiffs have now moved for default
judgment against RDM in favor of the Funds for $8, 706.77
(plus interest, liquidated damages, and attorneys' fees
and costs), and in favor of the Union for $952.41. (Dkt. 1 at
7; dkt. 7.)
a party has defaulted, the consequence is that the factual
allegations of the complaint, except those relating to the
amount of damages, will be taken as true.”
Teamsters Pension Fund of Phila. & Vicinity v. Am.
Helper, Inc., No. 11-624, 2011 WL 4729023, at *2 (D.N.J.
Oct. 5, 2011) (quoting DIRECTV, Inc. v. Pepe, 431
F.3d 162, 165 n.6 (3d Cir. 2005)). “The entry of a
default judgment is largely a matter of judicial discretion,
although the Third Circuit has emphasized that such
‘discretion is not without limits, however, and [has]
repeatedly state[d] [its] preference that cases be disposed
of on the merits whenever practicable.'”
Chanel, Inc. v. Gordashevsky, 558 F.Supp.2d 532, 535
(D.N.J. 2008) (quoting Hritz v. Woma Corp., 732 F.2d
1178, 1181 (3d Cir. 1984)).
to entering default judgment, the court must: “(1)
determine it has jurisdiction both over the subject matter
and parties; (2) determine whether defendants have been
properly served; (3) analyze the complaint to determine
whether it sufficiently pleads a cause of action; and (4)
determine whether the plaintiff has proved damages.”
Moroccanoil, Inc. v. JMG Freight Grp. LLC, No.
14-5608, 2015 WL 6673839, at *1 (D.N.J. Oct. 30, 2015).
Additionally, the Court must consider the following three
factors: “(1) prejudice to the plaintiff if default is
denied, (2) whether the defendant appears to have a litigable
defense, and (3) whether defendant's delay is due to
culpable conduct.” Chamberlain v. Giampapa,
210 F.3d 154, 164 (3d Cir. 2000); see also Nationwide
Mut. Ins. Co. v. Starlight Ballroom Dance Club, Inc.,
175 F.App'x 519, 522 (3d Cir. 2006).
entering a default judgment as to a party that has not filed
responsive pleadings, the district court has an affirmative
duty to look into its jurisdiction both over the subject
matter and the parties.” HICA Educ. Loan Corp. v.
Surikov, No. 14-145, 2015 WL 273656, at *2 (D.N.J. Jan.
22, 2015) (internal quotations omitted).
that we have subject matter jurisdiction over the
Plaintiffs' claims under 29 U.S.C. § 1132(e)
(granting federal district courts jurisdiction over ERISA
claims); 29 U.S.C. § 185 (granting jurisdiction in the
federal district where the labor organization maintains its
principal office); and 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (granting
“federal question” jurisdiction over actions
arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the
United States). See Trustees of the New Jersey B.A.C.
Health Fund v. Bryant Caulking & Waterproofing,
Inc., No. 15-8359, 2017 WL 784944, at *2 (D.N.J. Mar. 1,
find that we have specific personal jurisdiction over RDM.
Establishing specific jurisdiction involves a three-part
inquiry: (1) whether the defendants purposefully directed
their activities at the forum; (2) whether the litigation
arises out of or relates to at least one of the contacts; and
(3) whether the exercise of jurisdiction otherwise comports
with traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice. O'Connor v. Sandy Lane Hotel Co., Ltd.,
496 F.3d 312, 317 (3d Cir. 2007). As recounted in the
Complaint, RDM is a New Jersey corporation with a principal
place of business in New Jersey. (Dkt. 1 at 4.) The Covered
Work giving rise to the Plaintiffs' non-payment claims
occurred in New Jersey and involved workers from a union
headquartered in New Jersey. (Dkt. 1 at 5.) The undisputed
facts show that Plaintiffs' claim and RDM's contacts
with New Jersey are sufficient to establish specific
jurisdiction, and the Court finds that allowing RDM to be
sued in New Jersey does not offend traditional notions of
fair play and substantial justice.