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Board of Trustees of the Ohio Laborers Fringe Benefit Programs v. Maintenance Unlimited Inc.

October 17, 2006

BOARDS OF TRUSTEES OF THE OHIO LABORERS FRINGE BENEFIT PROGRAMS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MAINTENANCE UNLIMITED INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge King

OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiffs bring this action pursuant to § 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C. § 185, and § 502 of the Employees Retirement Income Security Act of 1972 (hereinafter "ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1132 et seq., seeking recovery for amounts allegedly due certain employee benefit plans. With the consent of the parties, 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), this matter is before the Court on plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. Doc. No. 8.*fn1

I. Background

Plaintiffs consist of the Boards of Trustees for The Ohio Laborers' Fringe Benefit Programs (hereinafter "Funds"), an association of three employee benefit trust funds and one labor management cooperative trust.*fn2 Complaint, at ¶ 2. The Funds maintain their principal place of business in Worthington, Ohio. Id. Defendant Maintenance Unlimited, Inc., (hereinafter referred to as "Maintenance Unlimited") is an employer with its principal place of business in Strongsville, Ohio. Id., at ¶ 3. Defendant Joseph P. Friscone*fn3 is alleged to be the corporate officer who controls the records of Maintenance Unlimited and who is responsible for filing its contribution reports. Id.

On November 9, 1992, Maintenance Unlimited executed an Ohio Heavy-Municipal-Utility State Construction Agreement, See Exhibit A attached to Affidavit of Matthew A. Archer, attached to Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment, by which Maintenance Unlimited agreed to make contributions on behalf of its employees to the Funds and to be bound by the agreements and declarations of trust establishing the Funds. Id.

Plaintiffs allege that Maintenance Unlimited acted in breach of its obligations by failing to make monthly contributions to the Funds for the period April 2006 through June 2006 in the principal amount of $23,248.62, Affidavit of Matthew A. Archer, ¶13, and that no contribution report has been made for the month of July 2006. Id. As a result, plaintiffs allege that Maintenance Unlimited owes $25,590.33 in delinquent principal, liquidated damages and interest for that period, as well as interest on that amount from the date of judgment at the rate of 1% per month. Id., ¶17. Plaintiffs also request $2,145.00 in attorney fees, representing 11 hours of attorney services compensated at the rate of $195.00 per hour. See Affidavit of Steven L. Ball, ¶2, attached to Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment.

Plaintiffs also request injunctive relief, pursuant to §1132(g)(2)(E), requiring defendants to timely submit contribution reports and payment from the funds of Maintenance Unlimited for fringe benefit contributions by the 15th of each month for all work performed by employees in the trade jurisdiction of "laborer" for the preceding month during the term of any and all collective bargaining agreements and any extensions thereto, and to promptly (i.e., within fifteen days of judgment) submit contribution reports and payments for all months extending from July 2006 and final judgment.

A court may grant an injunction against an employer who violates an agreement to contribute to a multiemployer benefit fund pursuant to § 1132(g)(2)(E). See Laborers Fringe Benefit Funds Detroit and Vicinity v. Northwest Concrete & Construction, Inc., 640 F.2d 1350, 1352 (6th Cir. 1981); Mamula v. Satralloy, Inc., 578 F. Supp. 563, 576 (S.D. Ohio 1983). The prerequisites to the issuance of such an injunction include findings that plaintiffs are threatened by real, irreparable injury for which they do have no adequate remedy at law, and that an injunction does not offend public policy. Northwest Concrete & Construction, Inc., 640 F.2d at 1353.

This Court concludes that plaintiffs have satisfied the prerequisites to injunctive relief. Absent the requested injunction, there is reason to believe that the Funds may not receive pension, health insurance and training benefits and will be thereby irreparably harmed.*fn4 See Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union Welfare/Pension Funds v. Caucus Club, Inc., 754 F. Supp. 539, 546 (E.D. Mich. 1991). Delinquent contributions damage the Funds' ability to meet their continuing fiduciary duty to provide benefits to employees and thus endanger not only employees, but also the Funds' financial security. Id. Furthermore, judgment based on delinquent contributions has been entered against these defendants on at least two prior occasions. Boards of Trustees of the Ohio Laborers Fringe Benefit Programs v. Maintenance Unlimited, Inc., et al., C-2-04-1004, "Agreed Order of Judgment" (S. D. Ohio, April 14, 2005); Boards of Trustees of the Ohio Laborers Fringe Benefit Programs v. Maintenance Unlimited, In., et al., C-2-05-514, "Order of Judgment" (S.D. Ohio, August 8, 2005). Moreover, the record in those cases demonstrate issues of compliance on the part of defendants with the judgments entered against them. Under these circumstances, it cannot be said that the issuance of an injunction in this case would offend public policy. To the contrary, issuance of an injunction in this case would carry out the public policy expressed in ERISA, i.e., to secure "the soundness and stability of plans with respect to adequate funds to pay promised benefits ...." 29 U.S.C. § 1001(a). Therefore, this Court concludes that injunctive relief is appropriate in this case.

Plaintiffs have presented evidentiary support for all pertinent aspects of their motion for summary judgment. Because defendants have made no response to the motion, the Court concludes that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that plaintiffs are entitled to the relief sought in their motion for summary judgment. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986); F.R.Civ.P. 56(e).

WHEREUPON this Court concludes that Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment, Doc. No. 8, is meritorious and it is therefore GRANTED. Plaintiffs are hereby AWARDED judgment in the amount of $25,590.33, plus interest from the date of judgment at the rate of 1% per month, and $2,145.00 in a reasonable attorney fee. Furthermore, defendants are hereby EXPRESSLY ORDERED to timely submit monthly contribution reports and payments from the funds of Maintenance Unlimited by the 15th of each month for all work performed by employees in the trade jurisdiction of "laborer" for the preceding month during the term of any and all collective bargaining agreements and any extensions thereto, and to submit contribution reports and payments for July through October 2006 within 15 days of judgment.

The Clerk shall enter FINAL JUDGMENT accordingly.

October 17, 2006

Norah McCann King United States ...


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