United States District Court, D. New Jersey
TRUSTEES OF THE B.A.C. LOCAL 4 PENSION FUND, TRUSTEES OF THE NEW JERSEY B.A.C. ANNUITY FUND, TRUSTEES OF THE NEW JERSEY B.A.C. HEALTH FUND, TRUSTEES OF THE NEW JERSEY BM&P APPRENTICE AND EDUCATION FUND, TRUSTEES OF THE BRICKLAYERS & TROWEL TRADES INTERNATIONAL PENSION FUND, AND TRUSTEES OF THE INTERNATIONAL MASONRY INSTITUTE, Plaintiffs,
DANAOS GROUP LLC, Defendant.
MADELINE COX ARLEO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court upon application by Plaintiffs
Trustees of the B.A.C. Local 4 Pension Fund, Trustees of the
New Jersey B.A.C. Annuity Fund, Trustees of the New Jersey
B.A.C. Health Fund, Trustees of the New Jersey BM&P
Apprentice and Education Fund, Trustees of the Bricklayers
& Trowel Trades International Fund, and Trustees of the
International Masonry Institute (collectively
“Plaintiffs”) for an entry of default judgment
against Defendant Danaos Group LLC (“Danaos” or
“Defendant”) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 55(b)(2). ECF No. 6. For the reasons set forth
herein, Plaintiffs' Motion is GRANTED.
are the employer and employee trustees of various
labor-management trust funds (the “Funds”).
Compl. ¶¶ 4-12. The Funds are organized and
operated pursuant to trust agreements and various collective
bargaining agreements. Id. Defendant Danaos is a
corporation organized and established under the laws of New
Jersey with a principal place of business located in Fort
Lee, New Jersey. Id. ¶ 10.
was party to a collective bargaining agreement (the
“CBA”) with the B.A.C. Administrative District
Council of New Jersey (the “Union”). Id.
¶ 11. The CBA provided that Danaos would make specified
contributions to the Funds, id. ¶ 12, and make
its books and records open for verification, id.
¶ 13. An audit of Danaos' books and records (the
“Audit”) revealed that Danaos failed to make its
required contributions to the Funds for the period of January
1, 2016 through December 31, 2016. Id. ¶ 14.
November 1, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a complaint against Danaos
in this Court. Compl. ¶ 1. The Complaint consists of one
count against Defendant for delinquent contributions in
violation of the Employee Retirement Income and Security Act
(“ERISA”) of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1145.
Id. ¶¶ 17-18. Danaos has not responded to
Plaintiffs' Complaint. Default was duly noticed by the
Clerk of the Court against Danaos on December 12, 2018 for
its failure to plead or otherwise defend this action. Docket
Entry dated December 12, 2018. Plaintiffs now request that
the Court enter default judgment against Danaos. ECF No. 6.
Court has the discretion to enter a default judgment, but a
decision on the merits is preferred. Animal Sci. Prods.,
Inc. v. China Nat'l Metals & Minerals Imp. & Exp.
Corp., 596 F.Supp.2d 842, 848 (D.N.J. 2008). Before
entering a default judgment, the Court must determine: (1)
whether there is sufficient proof of service; (2) whether a
cause of action was sufficiently stated; and (3) whether
default judgment is proper. Paniagua Grp., Inc. v. Hosp.
Specialists, LLC, 183 F.Supp.3d 591, 599 (D.N.J. 2016);
Teamsters Health & Welfare Fund of Phila. &
Vicinity v. Dubin Paper Co., No. 11-7137, 2012
WL 3018062, at *2 (D.N.J. July 24, 2012). To determine
whether a default judgment is proper, the Court must consider
and make “explicit factual findings” on three
factors: (1) whether the plaintiff will be prejudiced if
default judgment is not granted; (2) whether the defendant
has a meritorious defense; and (3) whether the
defendant's delay was the result of culpable misconduct.
Chanel, Inc. v. Gordashevsky, 558 F.Supp.2d 532, 537
(D.N.J. 2008). While the Court must accept the factual
allegations of the Complaint as true, damages must be proved.
DirecTV Inc. v. Pepe, 431 F.3d 162, 165 n.6 (3d Cir.
Jurisdiction and Service
Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action
pursuant to the Labor-Management Relations Act
(“LMRA”), 29 U.S.C. § 185; ERISA, 29 U.S.C.
§§ 1132(e)(2) and (f); and as a federal question
under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Venue is proper in this district
pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 185 and 29 U.S.C. §
Court must first find that Danaos was properly served.
Teamsters Health, 2012 WL 3018062, at *2. A
corporation may be served by “delivering a copy of the
summons and of the complaint to an officer, a managing agent
or general agent, or any other agent authorized by
appointment or by law to receive service of process.”
Danaos is a corporation. Compl. ¶ 10. The docket
reflects that Danaos's managing agent accepted service on
November 9, 2018. Pls.' Aff. of Service, ECF No. 4.
Therefore, the Court finds that Defendant was properly