National Electrical Benefit Fund v. Coastal Electric & Environmental Services, Inc.

Filing 14

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER amending JUDGMENT in favor of Plaintiffs against Coastal Electric & Environmental Services, Inc. to include an additional award of liquidated damages in the amount of$1.125.95 for NEBF' and $5.792.06 for NEAP. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 10/18/2016. (aos, Deputy Clerk)

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I S ;'1- ~.:, T IN TilE UNITED STATES J)(STlUCT COljRT FOR THE J)(STRICT OF MARYLAND Southern P 2: I C] :"'b [" Division * NATIONAL ELECTRICAL BENEFIT FUND ef III., YL/:" C' r * Plaintiffs, * Case No.: G,JII-IS-1698 * COASTAL ELECTRIC & ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, INC., * * Defendant. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER Pending bell)re the Court is National Electrical Ilenefit Fund's (""NEBF") and National Electrical Annuity Plan's ("NEAP") (collectively. ECF No. 13. A hcaring is unnecessary. Plaintiffs' "Plaintiffs"). Motion to Amcnd Judgmcnt. Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2(16). For the fl)llowing reasons. Motion is granted. In its Mcmorandum Opinion regarding Plaintiffs' Court flHlIld Defendant Coastal Electric & Environmental submit contributions Motion for Def~lult Judgment. Services. Inc. liable fll!' its 1~lilure to to NEBI' and NEAP that it was "legally and contractually makc:' NlIl'l Ul!c. Hl!lIl!fit FI/lld I'. this COllsllll 1,ll!c. & EII\'II. Sal'S .. IlIc.. obligated to No. GJ 11-15-169X. 2016 WL 3221523. at *3 (D. Md. June 7. 2(16). PlaintilTNEBF contributions: was thercflll'c awarded. in relevant part. "$5.629.74 in delinquent interest in the amount of $1.564.70: attorney's tees and costs in the amount of $2.X03.57: audit fees in the amount 01'$292.41: and. any additional NEill' in connection with the enfl)rcement ofajudgment: fees and costs incurred by interest on all amounts awarded: and. post-judgmcnt intercst until paid'" Id at 4. Similarly. part. "$28.960.28 in delinquent contributions: and costs in thc amount 01'$2.803.57: conncction with the cnforcemcnt Plaintiff NEAP was awardcd. intcrcst inthc amount 01'$7.670.32: and. any additional of a judgment: intercstuntil additional awards of liquidatcd damagcs attorncy's ICcs fecs and costs incurrcd by INEApj intercst on all amounts awardcd: paid." Id Now. in their Motion to Amcnd Judgmcnt judgmcnt in relevant in and. post- Plaintiffs rcquest in thc amount 01'$ 1.125.95 li'r NEBI' and $5.792.06 lilr NEAP. lOCI' No. 13 ~ 8. Rulc 59(c} allows a party to filc a motion to altcr or amcnd ajudgment days alier the entry of thc judgment The Fourth Circuit has recognized court may alter or amend an earlicr judgment: controlling law: (2) to account error of law or prcvent manifest ,,( I) to accommodate lilr new evidence injustice'" not available no latcr than 28 three grounds on which a an intervcning changc in at trial: or (3) to corrcct a e1car United States ex rei. /Jecker \'. /Vesting/lOuse Sl/\'l/Illwh Riwr Co .. 305 F,3d 284. 290 (4th Cir. 2002) (citing PaL'. Ins. Co. \'. Alii. Nat'/ Fire Ins. Co.. 148 F.3d 396. 403 (4th Cir. 1998». Plaintiffs e1aim here that the Court prcviously an error of law. Plaintiffs are correct. In an action to enlillTe the payment of delinquent * 1132(g). a successful made contributions under ERISA. 29 U.S.c. Plaintiff shall be awarded: (A) thc unpaid contributions. (B) intcrest on thc unpaid contributions. (C) an amount cqualto the greatcr 01'-- (i) intercst on thc unpaid contributions. (ii) liquidated damagcs not in cxccss of20 provided or for undcr thc plan in an amount perccnt (or such highcr perccntage 2 as may bc permitted under Federal or State law) of the amount determined the court under subparagraph (D) reasonable attorney's delendant. (A). Ices and costs of the action. to be paid by the and (E) such other legal or equitable reliefas 29 U.s.c. ~ 1132(g)(2). hy the court deems appropriate. Generally speaking. the lirst two categories of relief are similar to damages awarded in a breach of contract case. which seek to put the injured party in "as good a position as he would have been in had the contract been perllH"111ed:' by awarding the Plaintiff unpaid contributions Contracts and any interest that would have accrued on them. Restatement (Second) of ~ 344 em!. a (Am. Law Ins!. 1981). The third category seeks to deter the Dclendant from making delinquent contributions intcrest on the unpaid contributions in the future by ordering an "dditioll,,1 award of either the or liquidated damages not in excess of 20 percent. whichever amount is greater. See VerJ1l/lII'. BOll'ell Ellterprisl!s. Ille .. 648 F. Supp. 721. 724-25 (W.D. 1''1. 1986)( noting both the deterrent purpose of the provision and that the elements are "phrased in the disjunctive:'). In its prior opinion. the Court contlated the categories of relief: awarding Plaintiffs only enough to put them in as good a position as they would have been in had the Delendant paid its required contributions. but failed to award the third category of additional. deterrent relief: Plaintiffs are therefore correct that they are owed additional damages. Motion to Amend Judgment and their Amended Complaint. liquidated damages Ill!' NEBI' and $5.792.06 In both their Plaintiffs request $1.125.95 in in liquidated damages l'or NEAP. lOCI' NO.4 '134: lOCI' No. 13 'i 8. The Court notes that this is less than they would be entitled to under ERISA since the amounts of interest on the unpaid contributions 3 Il)r NEBI' and NEAP. $1.329.90 and $6.4 74.80 respectively. arc greater than the amounts of liquidated damages. $1.125.95 and $5.792.06. owed to each fund. 29 U.S.c. * 1132(g)(2)(C). The Court assumes that Plaintiffs are requesting the lesser amounts under the belief that they were limited by the language in their trust agreements. The NEBF and NEAP trust agreements both discuss a liquidated damages award of"up to twenty percent (20%) of the amount f(lUnd to be delinquent:' ECF No. 9-4 at 2: ECF No. 9-6 at 2.1 but neither agreement references an alternate award of additional interest. The Court will not opine on whether the contracts could limit recovery otherwise available under ERISA. but notes that the Court is limited in the amount of damages it may award in a delilllit judgment by Rule 54(c). Under that rule. the award may not "differ in kind from. or exceed in amount. what is demanded in the pleadings:' Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(c). Thus. since Plaintiffs only sought liquidated damages in the amount of$1.125.95 for NEBI' and $5.792.06 for NEAl' in their Amended Complaint. they would not be entitled to receive an award that would exceed that amount. ECF No.4'i 34. In accordance with the f(lregoing. it is hereby ORDERED that I'laintifis' Motion to Amend Judgment. ECF No. 13. is GRANTED. The Order. ECF No. 12. is thus modi lied to include an additional award of liquidatcd damages in the amount of$1.125.95 Date: October for NEBI' and $5.792.06 for NEAl'. &/A- If 2016 • GEORGE J. I lAZE!. United States District Judge 1 Pin cites to documents liIea on the Court"s electronic liIing system (CM/ECF) by that system. 4 refer 10 the page numbers generated

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