United States District Court, D. New Jersey
TRUSTEES OF THE TEAMSTERS PENSION TRUST FUND OF PHILADELPHIA AND VICINITY, Plaintiffs,
BS JOCKEY SERVICES, INC., Defendant.
B. KUGLER United States District Judge
suit arises from BS Jockey Services, Inc.'s
(“Defendant”) alleged failure to pay its
withdrawal fee and subsequent settlement agreement under a
Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) between
Defendant and Trustees of the Teamsters Pension Trust Fund of
Philadelphia and Vicinity (“Plaintiff”).
Plaintiff brings this suit against Defendant to reduce to
judgment the alleged delinquent withdrawal liability.
Presently before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for
entry of default judgment against Defendant (Doc. No. 7). For
the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion is
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL
is a multiemployer pension plan and employee pension benefit
plan. (Compl. at 2.; see Employee Retirement Income
Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), Sections 3(37),
4001(a)(3), 3(2)(A), (3); 29 U.S.C. §§ 1002(2)(A),
(3)). Plaintiff was established, and is continuously
maintained, for the purpose of providing retirement and
related benefits to eligible participants and beneficiaries
and is subject to the withdrawal liability provisions of
ERISA. (Id.). Defendant is a Pennsylvania
corporation located at 9319 Campus Lane, Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. (Id.). Defendant is-and has been at
all times relevant to this action-an employer for the
purposes of ERISA. (Compl. at 3; ERISA Section 3(5); 29
U.S.C. § 1002(5)). Defendant participated in, and
contributed to, the Fund pursuant to the terms of a CBA
between itself and the International Brotherhood of
Teamsters, Local No. 470 and its successor, International
Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local No. 107. (Compl. at 3).
Participating employers in the Fund are bound by the terms of
the Fund. (Id.).
about September 20, 2013, Plaintiff determined that Defendant
had effected a complete withdrawal from a fund-as defined in
29 U.S.C. § 1383(a)-during the 2013 plan year.
(Id.). On September 20, 2013, Plaintiff demanded
payment of Defendant's withdrawal liability, which
Plaintiff computed as $30, 246.06.
(Id.). On November 26, 2013, after not receiving
any payment from Defendant, Plaintiff demanded Defendant
begin making its required payments within 60 days.
in March 2014, the parties entered into a settlement
agreement. (Compl. at 4). Defendant acknowledged its
obligation to pay its withdrawal liability in the amount
demanded. (Compl. at 4). Defendant agreed to do so in monthly
payments of $500.00 beginning on March 15, 2014.
(Id.). After over three years of complying with this
agreement, Defendant stopped making its payments in May,
2017. (Id.). Defendant currently owes $18, 123.91.
brought this action on June 9, 2017, for the balance of the
withdrawal liability (count one) and for breach of the
settlement agreement (count two). (Compl. at 4-5). Plaintiff
has requested this Court enter an order against Defendant for
$18, 123.91, plus indeterminate interest, liquidated damages,
and reasonable attorneys' fees and litigation costs.
Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2) allows the Court, upon
plaintiff's motion, to enter default judgment against a
defendant that has failed to plead or otherwise defend a
claim for affirmative relief. The Court should accept as true
all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint by
virtue of the defendant's default except for those
allegations pertaining to damages. Chanel, Inc. v.
Gordashevsky, 448 F.Supp.2d 532, 536 (D.N.J. 2008)
(citing Comdyne I, Inc. v. Corbin, 908 F.2d 1142,
1149 (3d Cir. 1990)). The Court also does not adopt
Plaintiff's legal conclusions because whether
the facts set forth an actionable claim is for the Court to
decide. Doe v. Simone, No. 12-5825, 2013 WL 3772532,
at *2 (D.N.J. July 17, 2013).
the decision to enter default judgment is left principally to
the discretion of the district court, there is a
well-established preference in the Third Circuit that cases
be decided on the merits rather than by default judgment
whenever practicable. Hritz v. Woma Corp., 732 F.2d
1178, 1180-81 (3d Cir. 1984). Consequently, the Court must
address a number of issues before deciding whether a default
judgment is warranted in the instant case. If the Court finds
default judgment to be appropriate, the next step is for the
Court to determine a proper award of damages.
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
Appropriateness of Default Judgment
The Court's Jurisdiction
the Court must determine whether it has both subject-matter
jurisdiction over Plaintiff's cause of action and
personal jurisdiction over Defendant. See U.S. Life Ins.
Co. in N.Y.C. v. ...