National Electrical Benefit Fund v. EGF Electrical Incorporated
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 2/7/2018. (aos, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
Case No.: G.JH-17-857
EGF Electrical Incorporated
Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"),
Act of 1980,29
Plaintiff National Electrical Benefit Fund ("Plaintiff'
or "NEBF") brings this action
under the Employee Retirement
as amended by the Multiemployer
U.S.c. ~~ 1001 el seq. Following Defendant's
failure to answer or
otherwise defend in this action, the Clerk entered default against Defendant on July 24,2017.
ECF NO.7. Now pending before the Court is Plaintiffs
Motion for Partial Default Judgment
against Defendant pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b). ECF NO.6. No hearing is necessary. See
Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the following reasons, Plaintiffs
Motion for Partial Default
The following facts are established
by the Complaint.
exhibits in support of the Motion for Partial Default Judgment.
ECF No. J. and evidentiary
The NEBF is a
employee pension benefit plan within the meaning of Section 3(2) of ERISA, 29
1002(2), which has been established
local unions. ECF NO.1
Suite 500, Rockville,
behalf of employees
for the NEBF to determine
and records after a demand
with an IBEW Local Union, the collective
lei. ~ 6. According
to the Complaint
to submit contributions
to the NEBF on
lei. Defendant was also bound to the terms and
of the NEBF. lei.
to submit contributions.
was a signatory
covered by the Agreements.
of the Restated
is an Illinois corporation
within the meaning of Section 3(5) of ERISA,
At all times relevant to the action, Defendant
with the IBEW or one of
is 20602 Abbey Drive, Frankfort,
1002(5), and is engaged in an industry affecting
at 1. Employers
at 2400 Research
and beliet~ that Defendant
is an employer
address and main place of business
60423. ECF No. 1 ~ 5. Defendant
4. The NEBF is administered
Plaintiff states, upon information
entered into between the
and the National
4; see ECF NO.6-I
ECF No. I
in the NEBF pursuant to collective
pursuant to an agreement
and Trust ("Trust Agreement"),
was required to provide access to the
lei. ~ 8.
failed to allow the NEBF to complete
for an audit was made. lei.
an audit of Defendant's
9. Thus, NEBF argues that pursuant to
the Trust Agreement,
and 29 U.S.c.
I I 132(g)(D)(2),
1 Pin cites to documents filed on the Court's electronic filing system (CM/ECF) refer to the page numbers generated
by that system.
is required to pay the attorney's
fees, auditor fees, and court costs incurred by NEBF
with the audit and this action to compel compliance.
Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint
Among other relief, Plaintiff sought access to Defendant's
1, 2011 through December
Id. ~ 10.
on March 30, 2017. ECF No.1.
payroll records for the period of
31, 2015, for the purposes of conducting
was making its required contributions.
Id. at 4. The Defendant
to Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
Answer was due on or before April 25,2017.
an audit to ensure
on April 4, 2017. ECF NO.4-I.
Id. No Answer was filed, Plaintiff moved for
default on June 27, 2017, ECF NO.4, and the Clerk entered default against Defendant
2017, ECF NO.7. On July 19,2017,
seeking an order requiring
on July 24,
Plaintiff filed the pending Motion for Partial Default
to provide NEBF with access to its payroll
ECF NO.6 at 2.
"When a party against whom a judgment
plead or otherwise
enter the party's
relief is sought has failed to
defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise,
entitle the plaintiff
Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a). "A defendant's
to entry of a default judgment;
the clerk must
default does not automatically
rather, that decision is left to the discretion
the court." Educ. Credit Mgmt. Corp. v. Optimum Welding, 285 F.R.D. 371, 373 (D. Md. 2012).
"(t]he Fourth Circuit has a 'strong policy'
that 'cases be decided on their merits,'"
Choice Hotels Intern .. Inc. v. Savannah Shakti Carp., No. DKC-II-0438,
20 II WL 5118328 at
*2 (D. Md. Oct. 25, 2011) (citing United Stales v. Shqffer Equip. Co.. II F.3d 450. 453 (4th Cir.
1993)), "default judgment
may be appropriate
when the adversary
process has been halted
because of an essentially
v. Lawbaugh, 359 F. Supp. 2d
(D. Md. 2005)).
"Upon default, the well-pled
as to damages
in a complaint
as to liability are taken as true.
are not." Lawbaugh, 359 F. Supp. 2d at 422; see also
Ryan v. Homecomings Fin. Network, 253 F.3d 778, 780 (4th Cir. 2001) (noting that "[tlhe
by [its] default, admits the plaintiff's
of fact," which provide
the basis for judgment).
Upon a finding of liability, "(t]he court must make an independent
... " In! '/ Painters & Allied Trades Indus. Pension Fund v.
Capital Restoration & Painting Co., 919 F. Supp. 2d 680, 684 (D. Md. 2013). Fed. R. Civ. P.
54(c) limits the type of judgment
that may be entered based on a party's default: "A default
must not differ in kind from, or exceed in amount, what is demanded
While the Court may hold a hearing to prove damages,
instead on "detailed
in the pleadings."
it is not required to do so; it may rely
evidence to determine
Adkins, 180 F. Supp. 2d at 17 (citing United Artists Corp. v. Freeman, 605 F.2d 854, 857 (5th
Plaintiff seeks an Order requiring
by Plaintiff, to ensure that Defendant
has subject matter jurisdiction
to produce its books and records for an audit
has been making the appropriate
over this action pursuant to Section 502 of ERISA, 29 U.S.c.
1132 and 1451(c). Venue is proper under 29 U.S.C. ~~ 1132(e)(2),
1451(d), as the NEBF is
See Bd. ofTrs .. Sheet Metal Workers' Nat 'I Pension Fund
v. McD Metals. Inc., 964 F. Supp. 1040 (E.D. Va. 1997): Trustees
(~r at. Automatic
Indus. Pension Fund v. Best Automatic Fire Prot .. Inc.. 578 F. Supp. 94, 95 (D. Md. 1983).
Under ERISA, the court has discretionary
so is necessary
to protect the rights of fund participants
to grant injunctive
relief when doing
Washington Area CW'lJenters' Pension & Ret. Fund v. Mergentime COl'l).. 743 F.Supp. 422, 428
(D. Md. 1990); see Laborers' Fringe Benefit Funds-Detroit and Vicinity v. Northwest Concrete
& Constr .. Inc.. 640 F.2d 1350 (6th Cir. 1981); see 29 U.S.C.
relief must show that it is in need of injunctive
to remedy the breach, and that an adequate
1 I 32(a)(3). A plaintifT requesting
or "other appropriate
remedy is otherwise
Phillips v. Brink's
Co.. 632 F. Supp. 2d 563, 575 (D. W.O. 2009). See also Nat'l £lec. Ben. Fund v. Landers
Entelprises. LLe, No. PWG-14-0140,
2014 WL 3510227,
its records, so plaintiff could determine
Here, Plaintiff has demonstrated
at *7 (D. Md. July I I, 2014) (ordering
remedy is available.
that it is in need of equitable
relief: and that no
Plaintiff submits the affidavit of Angel Losquadro,
Director of Audit and Delinquency
multiple written requests,
they are required to do so under the Collective
has failed to produce records for an audit," as
8. Plaintiff needs this audit to ensure that there are no delinquent
other way to ensure Defendant's
and Trust Agreement.
and has no
II. The Court will grant Plaintiffs
Motion for Default Judgment.
For the foregoing
granted against Defendant.
Motion for Partial Default Judgment,
ECF NO.6. is
must produce its payroll records for the period January
2011 through December
31, 2015, to Plainti ff within 20 days of the signing of this Memorandum
Opinion and accompanying
Order. A separate Order shall issue.
GEORGE .I. HAZEL
United States District Judge
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