Sheet Metal Workers' Local Union No. 100 Washington, D.C. Area Pension Fund et al v. Western Surety Company

Filing 42

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 9/7/2017. (kns, Deputy Clerk)

Download PDF
US. . (" - IN TUE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE I)ISTRICT OF MARYLAND Southern <.JI...... FIL[D ',r:.ICT CO'~:,\T -. . '"1 ~ \'~ ....1 •• 1' 1 LUll SEP -l ~ :. 35 Division CI~:l<"'~"'~:" '- •... , .. * SHEET METAL WORKERS' LOCAL UNION NO. 100WASHINGTON, D.C. AREA PENSION FUND, et ul., f I.T ~'I * ..•. '- - . * Plaintiffs, Case No.: G.JII-I 5-1175 * v. * WESTERN SURETY COMPANY, * Defendants. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * MEMORANDUM OPINION In this action. Plaintiffs. thc Shcet Metal Workers' Local Union No. 100 (the "Union"). Sheet Metal Workers' Local Union No. 100 Washington. D.C. Area Pension Fund. Sheet Metal Workers' Local Union No. 100 401(k) Fund. Sheet Metal Workers' Local Union No. 100 Washington. D.C. Area Apprenticeship Fund. Sheet Metal Workers' Local Union No. 100 Washington. D.C. Area Vacation Fund. and Sheet Metal Workers' Local Union No.1 00 Washington. D.C. Area Health Fund (collectively. "Benefit Funds") seek to recover on a fi.inge benelit bond on which Delendant. Western Surety Company ("Western Surety"). is the surety. Currently pending bel(lrl~ the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion I'Jr Scheduling Order. ECF No. 38. No hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.). For the reasons that 1()llow. Plaintifrs Motion is denied. . c .._ 'c.~ I. BACKGROUND Thc Court thoroughly summarized its May 17.2016 Memorandum the factual and proccdural background Opinion on Plaintiffs' Motionlt)r of this suit in Summary Judgmcnt. See ECF No. 35 at 2-8.1 A brief summary of the relevant facts lollows. Unitcd Sheet Mctal. Inc. ("United") was a sheet metal subcontractor mcmbers ofthc Union on various construction that cmployed projects. 1<1. at 2. In July 2009. the Union and United entered into a collcctive bargaining agreement ("CBA") under which United agreed to pay set amounts to thc Benefit Funds. hi. These tunds wcre to be govcrncd in accordancc thc Labor-Managemcnt Relations Act. 29 U.S.c. ~~ 157 el seq .. and the Employment Income Security Act ("ERISA"). with Retirement 29 U.S.c. ~~ 1001 elseq. Thc CBA also required that Unitcd post a bond to ensure the satisfaction of its requirements 1.20 II. Defendant issued a Contractors under the CBA. Id. at 3. On Septcmbcr Fringe Benefits Bond (the "Bond") in thc amount of $500.000 naming United as its principal and the Union and Benefit Funds as its obliges. Id. In late 2013 and early 2014. United bccame delinquent on multiple payments, and ultimately ceased all operations in March 2014. 1<1. at 5. Plaintiffs sent multiple letters to Defendant requesting paymcnt on the Bond. and ultimately payment on Plaintiffs' liled this suit when Western Surety refused to rcmit any bond claim. Id. at 8. On May 7. 2015. this Court entered a Scheduling Scheduling Order for this suit. ECF No. 20. The Order spccified that ..the schedule will not be changed cxcept tt)r good cause:' I. As part of this Scheduling Order. the C01ll1 dirccted that all "Dispositive Id. at pretrial motions" would be filed by October 19.2015. Id. at 2. Plaintiffs filed a Motion It)r Summary Judgment on October 19.2015. alleging that they were entitled to judgment on Western Surety's liability. 1 Pin cites to documents filed on the COllrt's electronic filing system (CM/ECF) by that system. 2 refer to the page !lumbers generated ECF No. 30. The Court granted in part and denied in pari that motion on May 17. 2016. ECF No. 35. In its Memorandum Opinion. the Court found that Western Surety is liable under the Bond as a matter of law. but that thcre was insuflicicnt evidencc to dcterminc Plaintiffs' damages. Ie/. at 26. Five months latcr. on Octobcr 25. 2016. Plaintiffs submitted their Motion for Scheduling Order. asking the Court to allow thc Plaintiffs to submit a supplemcntalmotion fi)r summary judgmcnt. ECF No. 38. Specifically. Plaintiffs contend that the Courl should adopt a "burdenshilling analysis:' which would allow Plaintiffs to rely on certain documents provided by United in assessing damages. ECF No. 38-1 at 5. The Court interprets this request as being cither a Request for Reconsideration of its initial decision on Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment. or a Request for Extension of the tiling deadlines. as the deadline for tiling dispositivc motions has passed. Thc Court addresses Plaintiffs' motion under these two standards. and linds it to be without mcrit under either standard. II. STANDARD OF REVIEW A. Motion to rcconsidcr "A motion to reconsider is appropriate to raise a signiticant change in the law or lacts. or when 'the Court has patently misunderstood a party. or has made a decision outside the advcrsarial issues prcsented to the Court by the parties. or has made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension.'" Ledo Pi::::::a .\)'.\.. Inc. \'. Singh. 983 F. Supp. 2d 632. 638 (D. Md. 2013) (quoting Ahm'e Ihe Bell. Inc. I'. AIel Bohannan Rooting. /nc.. 99 F.R.D. 99. 101 (E.D. Va. 1983)). "A motion to reconsider is inappropriate where it mercly seeks to rc-debate the merits of a particular motion:' Remedialion ProdllCls, Inc. \'. Ad\'enIIlS Americas. /nc .. No. 3:07CVI53RJC-DCK. 2010 WL 2572555. at *1 (W.D.N.C. June 22. 2(10). or merely reCJuestthat the district court change its mind. Uniled Stales I'. IVilliams. 674 F.2d 310.313 (4th Cir.1982). "The 3 power to reconsider an order is 'committed to thc discretion of thc district court" In cxercising this discretion. courts must bc scnsitive to 'conccrns of finality and judicial economy Si/l/OIlS, p...J. \',j2 Gloh, Callado,fllc Calloe Ass '11 \', /sher & .. 977 F. Supp. 2d 544. 546--47 (D. Md. 2(13) (quoting ..1/1/, Murphy Far/l/s, fllc .. 326 F.3d 505. 515 (4th Cir.20(3). In this Court. "any motion to reconsider any order issued by the Court shall be Iiled with the Clerk not latcr than fourtcen (14) days alier entry of the order," Local Rule 105.10 (D.Md. 2(14), B. Motion for extension of time Gencrally. this Court's scheduling orders "must be obcycd absent good cause," WOllasue \', Ullil', of'MiI. Alu/l/lli ..1.1'.1' 2013 WI. 5719004 (D. Md. Oct. J 7.20 J 3). "A court's scheduling 'II. order 'is not a frivolous piece ofpapcr. idly entered. which can bc cavalicrly disrcgarded by counsel without peri I.'" .folies \', Koolls AII/o .. fllc .. No. DKC-09-3362. 2013 WI. 3713845. at *8 (D. Md. July 15.2(13) (quoting P%/l/ac Elee. POll'er Co. \" Elec, M%r SUPp~\',IlIc .. 190 F.R.D. 372. 376 (D, Md. 1999)). Alicr a deadline in a scheduling ordcr has expired ... the good cause standard must be satislied" to justify leave to tile a dispositive motion. Nourisoll Ru)!. COIl}, \',Pan'iziall. 535 F.3d 295. 298 (4th Cir. 20(8). This requires more than simply identifying a new argumcnt that had not been previously raised, See iii. The movant can satisfy the good cause requirement only "by showing that. despite due diligence. it could not have [tiled the dispositive motion] in a reasonably timely manner," /folliday \', /lolliday. No. 09-cv-OI449- AW. 2012 WI. 1409527. at *3 (D. Md, Apr. 20. 2(12). "Absent a showing of good cause. untimely cross-motions for summary judgment arc subject to bcing stricken," Car/er \', IIN•. . 1 fllc .. No, GLR-12-868. 2013 WI. 3967925. at *7 (D. Md. Julv 30. 2(13), 4 III. DISCUSSION PlaintifTs' motion is without merit. whether it is assessed as a Motion for Reconsideration or as a Motion for Extension." A. Motion for Reconsideration As a Motion for Reconsideration. Plaintiffs' motion would fail substantively as well as procedurally. First. procedurally. Plaintiffs tiled their motion a full tive months aileI' thc Court's initial decision regarding their Motion for Summary .Judgmcnt. ECF No. 38. To bc properly eonsidcred. such a motion should havc bccn tiled fourteen days alier the Court's initial ruling. Local Rule 105.10 (D. Md.). Second. substantively. Plaintiffs do not argue that the Court misunderstood either of the parties. or that a new tact or legal precedent has ariscn sincc thc Court's decision. Instead. Plaintit1's argue that "a kcy legal issue ... has come into sharp tilcUSas a result of the Court's May 17.2016 order ... ,'. ECF No. 40 at 17. Plaintitfs do not explain how thc Court's May 17.2016 decision drcw any issues into "sharp focus," why this argumcnt could not have becn raiscd in their initial Motion fl)r Summary .Judgmcnt. or why they waitcd live months to tile the pending Motion. Plaintiffs' argumcnt boils down to a disagrccment with the Court's original decision; the Plaintiffs believc that thc Court did not apply thc corrccl standard. Thc Court will not allow Plaintiffs a second bite at the applc. tive months alicr denying thcir initial Motion for Summary Judgment. and will not pcrmit thcm to "rc-dcbatc the merits" of that motion. ! The Court does not take a position on whether or not the ERISA "burden-shifting" analysis that PlaintiO's propose applies. However. the Court notes that in its May 17. 2016 Order on Plaintiffs Motion for SUlllmary Judgment. the COUl1 denied SUIII Illtlry judgment on the issue of damages because Plaintiffs had "fully recovered the contributions O\\'cd on three projects" and the remittance reports provided by Plaintiffs did not "break down the contribution calculations by project ... :" ECF No. 35 at 25. The Court reiterates its reasoning: even if the Court ultimately adopts the "burden-shifting" analysis put forth by Plaintiffs, the question of which charges have already been recovered is still a material issue of fact. 5 B. Motion for Extension Trcatcd as a Motion for Extcnsion. Plaintiffs' motion similarly fails. Plaintiffs asscrt that thcrc is "good causc" for modifying thc schcduling order. ECF No. 40 at 17. Plaintiffs conccde. howcver. that "good causc" requires a showing that "scheduling deadlincs cannot he met despitc a party's diligcnt efforts:' It!. at 18. Plaintiffs do not argue that they wcre unable to meet the Court's deadlines. or that they "diligent[lyj"" attcmpted to do so. Instead. Plaintiffs argue that thcir motion is "bascd upon the Court's ruling on the prior summary judgment motion:' and that an extcnsion "will not delay furthcr procccdings ... or prejudice any party:' Id at 18. In support. Plaintiffs citc two cascs. which the Court linds unpersuasivc. See it!. at 18 (citing rOller.I' ,'. r({L)". No. JKS-10-2292. 2012 WL 5426442. at *1 (D. Md. Nov. 6. 2012)). and at 19 (citing I,ope:: ". NT! rrc. 748 F. Supp. 2d 471. 475 (D. Md. 2010)). In LOllers. the court pcrmittcd thc cxtension of a deadline. and considcrcd a supplemental motion for summary judgmcnt 1i.)llowingthe court's ruling on the initial motion for summary judgmcnt and ancr the dcadlinc li.)rdispositi\'e motions had passcd: thcrc. howcver. thc moving party "liled the motion immcdiately ancr the court issucd its previous opinion:' It!. at *2. Herc. Plaintiffs waitcd livc months from the timc of thc Court's initial ruling on its motion for summary judgmcnt. and have not providcd any cxplanation excusing such a delay. Similarly. the Court distinguishes Lope::. There. thc court allowcd thc dcfcndants to submit a late motion for summary judgment. ancr the dcadline Ii.)r such motions had cxpircd. Lope::. 748 F. Supp. 2d at 475. Howcvcr. the tardy motion was thc defcndants' lirst motion li.)rsummary judgment: furthcrmorc. the underlying hasis lor the motion-thc Defendants' full paymcnt of a disputed amount-occurrcd mcrcly a month prior to the defendants' liling. It!. at 475 n.3. Ilere. Plaintiffs havc already had one attcmpt at a motion li.)r summary judgment. and have not identilied any underlying l(lctual changcs which would 6 constitute the basis of their motion and justify the significant delay. As such, Plaintiffs' motion fails as a Motion for Extension. IV. CONCLUSION Viewed as either a Motion for Reconsideration or as a Motion for Extension. Plaintiil's' Motion for Scheduling Order is without merit, and will be denied. A separate Order followsJ Ak- Dated: September 7.2017 GEORGE J. HAZEL United States District Judge ) The Court will convene a scheduling conference to discuss the remaining issues to be resolved in this case. 7

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?