National Electrical Benefit Fund v. Coastal Electric & Environmental Services, Inc.
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)
I S ;'1-
IN TilE UNITED STATES J)(STlUCT COljRT
FOR THE J)(STRICT OF MARYLAND
P 2: I C]
NATIONAL ELECTRICAL BENEFIT
FUND ef III.,
Case No.: G,JII-IS-1698
COASTAL ELECTRIC &
ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, INC.,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Pending bell)re the Court is National Electrical Ilenefit Fund's (""NEBF") and National
Electrical Annuity Plan's ("NEAP")
ECF No. 13. A hcaring is unnecessary.
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
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
COllsllll 1,ll!c. & EII\'II. Sal'S .. IlIc..
No. GJ 11-15-169X. 2016
WL 3221523. at *3 (D. Md. June 7. 2(16).
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
fees and costs incurred by
interest on all amounts awarded: and.
intercst until paid'" Id at 4. Similarly.
and costs in thc amount 01'$2.803.57:
with the cnforcemcnt
Plaintiff NEAP was awardcd.
intcrcst inthc amount 01'$7.670.32:
and. any additional
of a judgment:
awards of liquidatcd
fecs and costs incurrcd by INEApj
intercst on all amounts
paid." Id Now. in their Motion to Amcnd Judgmcnt
in thc amount 01'$ 1.125.95 li'r NEBI' and $5.792.06
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:
law: (2) to account
error of law or prcvent manifest
,,( I) to accommodate
lilr new evidence
no latcr than 28
three grounds on which a
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
In an action to enlillTe the payment of delinquent
1132(g). a successful
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.
not in cxccss of20
for undcr thc plan in an amount
perccnt (or such highcr perccntage
as may bc
permitted under Federal or State law) of the amount determined
the court under subparagraph
(D) reasonable attorney's
Ices and costs of the action. to be paid by the
(E) such other legal or equitable reliefas
U.s.c. ~ 1132(g)(2).
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
and any interest that would have accrued on them. Restatement
~ 344 em!. a (Am. Law Ins!. 1981). The third category seeks to deter the Dclendant
from making delinquent
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.
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
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
paid its required contributions.
but failed to award the third category of additional.
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 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
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
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
for NEBI' and $5.792.06 for NEAl'.
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.
the page numbers generated
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