National Electrical Benefit Fund v. Donald A. Pusey, Inc.

Filing 13

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER amending JUDGMENT in favor of National Electrical Benefit Fund against Donald A. Pusey, Inc. to include an additional award of liquidated damages in the amount of $407.08. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 10/18/2016. (aos, Deputy Clerk)

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US'I IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT couln F()({ TIlE I>ISTI{ICT OF MARYLAND Southern III r L / '';~ Division J p 2: 18 * NATIONAL ELECTRICAL BENEFIT FUND, I, ('I .- * Plaintiff, * Case No,: G.JH-15-2659 v. * DONALD A. PUSEY, INC., * * Defendant. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER Pcnding bcforc thc Court is Plaintiff National Motion to Amcnd Judgmcnt. ~ 20 I 6). For thc following Court ItHlI1d [)cfcndant Bcnelit Fund's (""NEBF") ~. ECF No. 12. A hcaring is unneccssarv. rcasons. In its Mcmorandum Elcctrical Plaintifrs Opinion Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. Motion is grantcd. rcgarding Plaintifrs Motion for Dcl~llIlt Judgmcnt. this [)onald A. Puscy. Inc. liablc for its failurc to submit contributions NEBI' that it was "legally and contractually obligatcd to to makc'-' Nal'! 1~/ec.Bellelil Fllml \'. Dllllaid A. Pusey, IlIc.. No. GJ 11-15-2659. 2016 WI. 31291 12. at * 3 (D, Mel. J unc I. 2(16), Plaintiff was thcreforc $679,72: attorncy's any additional judgmcnt: awardcd "$2.035.38 in delinquent Ices and costs incurrcd by NEBI' in conncction intcrcst on all amounts ECF No. intercst in thc amount of Iccs and costs in thc amount 01'$992,80: audit Iccs in thc amount 01'$366.93: thcir Motion to Amend Judgmcnt. damages. contributions: 12'i 8. awarded: with thc cnftJrccmcnt and. post-judgmcnt PlaintifTasks for an additional intcrcst until paid'-'!d of a Now. in award 01'$407,08 in liquidated Rule 59(e) allows a party to file a motion to alter or amend ajudgment no later than 28 days alier the entry of the judgment. The Fourth Circuit has recognized three grounds on which a court may alter or amend an earlier judgment: "( 1) to accommodate an intervening change in eontrollin!! law: (2) to account for new evidence not available at trial: or (3) to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice'" U/1iled Slales ex rei. Becker \', lJ'esli/1f!.l1o/lse Sa\'(//1/1al1 Ril'Cr 1/1.1', Co.. 305 FJd 284. 290 (4th (ir. 2002) (citing Pac, IllS, Co, \', Am, Nal '/ Fire Co .. 148 FJd 396. 403 (4th (ir. 1998)), PlaintilTciaims here that the Court previously made an error of law, Plaintiff is correct. In an action to enforce the payment of delinquent contributions under ERISA. 29 U.s.c. * 1132(g). a successfulPlaintifTshall be awarded: (A) the unpaid contributions. (13) interest on the unpaid contributions, (C) an amount equal to the greater 01'(i) interest on the unpaid contributions, or (ii) liquidated damages provided for under the plan in an amount not in excess 01'20 percent (or such highcr percentage as may bc permitted under Federal or State law) of the amount determined by the court under subparagraph (A). (D) reasonable attorney's fees and costs of the action. to be paid by the defendant. and (E) such other legal or equitable relief as the court deems appropriate, 29 U,S,c. * 1132(g)(2), Generally speaking. the lirst two categories ofrcliefare similar to damages awarded in a breach of contract case, which seek to put the injured pat1y in "as good a 2 position as he would have been in had the contract been perf(lI"Illed:' by awarding the Plaintiff unpaid contributions and any interest that would have accrued on them. Restatement (Second) of Contracts ~ 344 cmt. a (Am. Law Inst. 198 I ). The third cate!!orv. sceks to detcr the Dcfendant . ~ Irom making delinquent contributions interest on the unpaid contributions in the 1(llure by ordcring an additiollal award of eithcr the or liquidated damages not in exccss of 20 percent. whiche\'er amount is grcatcr. See Vema/( \'. Bowell EJ1Ierprises. IlIc .. 648 F. Supp. 721. 724-25 (W.D. Pa. 1986 )(noting both the deterrent purpose of the provision and that the clements are "phrased in the disjunctive."). In its prior opinion. the Court conllated the categories of relic!: awarding Plaintiff only enough to put it in as good a position as it would have been in had the Defendant paid its required contributions. but failed to award the third category of additional. deterrent relief. Plaintiff is theref(lre correct that it is owed additional damages. Amend Judgment and its Complaint. In both its Motion to Plaintiff requests $407.08 in liquidated damages. ECF No. I ~ 17: ECF No. 12 ~ 8. The Court notes that this is less than they would be entitled to under ERISA since the amount of interest on the unpaid contributions. $635.05. is greater than the amount of liquidated damages. $407.08. 29 U.S.C. ~ 1132(g)(2)(C). Plaintiffis The Court assumes that requesting the lesser amount under the belief that they were limited by the language in the NEBI' trust agreement. which discusses a liquidated damages award of "up to twenty percent (20%) of the amountf(lUnd to be delinquent:' relCrence to an alternate award of additional ECF NO.9-I at 7.1 but docs not inelude any interest. The Court will not opine on whether the contract could limit recovery otherwise available undcr ERISA. but notes that the Court is limitcd in the amount of damagcs it may award in a delllUlt judgment 1 Pin cites to documents by that system. by Rule 54(c). Under that filed nn the Court's electronic filing system (CM/ECF) refer 3 10 the page numbers generated rule. the award may not '"differ in kind from. or exceed in amount. what is demanded pleadings:' Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(c). Thus. since Plaintiff only sought liquidated amount of $407.08 in their Complaint. exceed that amount. ECF No. I In accordance Amend Judgment. '1 17. with the foregoing. it is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion to ECF No. 12. is GRANTED. to include an additional award of liquidated in the amount of $407.08. Date: October! in the they would not be entitled to receive an award that would The Order. ECF No. II. is thus modified damages damages in the t:20 16 GEORGE J. HAZEL United States District Judge 4

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