Iron Workers St. Louis District Council Annuity Trust et al v. Miller Building Group, LLC et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs' Motion for Contempt 36 is GRANTED and Defendant Miller Building Group, LLC, is found in CONTEMPT of this Court. As sanctioned, Defendant is liable for a fine of $200.00 per da y for every day after this date that Defendant fails to submit its records for inspection or otherwise comply with this Court's Orders and Plaintiffs' discovery requests. Plaintiffs' attorney shall contact the Court if and when Defendant produces its records for inspection. (SEE ORDER FOR DETAILS) Signed by District Judge John A. Ross on 2/27/2017. (CLO)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
IRON WORKERS ST. LOUIS DISTRICT
COUNCIL ANNUITY TRUST, et al.,
) Case No. 4:14-CV-01298 JAR
MILLER BUILDING GROUP, LLC, et al., )
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter came before the Court for hearing on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Contempt (Doc.
No. 36), arising from Defendant Miller Building Group, LLC’s failure to comply with a Court
Order compelling Defendant to appear for a post-judgment deposition and provide requested
documents at the offices of Plaintiffs’ Counsel. (Doc. No. 35). Plaintiffs appear by Counsel.
Despite proper notice and personal service on Defendant, Defendant does not appear.
Courts have authority to award sanctions for contempt in ERISA collection cases where
the Defendant and/or its representative fails to participate in discovery for purposes of
determining the amount of liability for unpaid fringe benefit contributions. Greater St. Louis
Const. Laborers Welfare Fund v. Marshall Contracting, LLC, 2012 WL 4759772, at *1 (E.D.
Mo. Oct. 5, 2012) (citing Greater St. Louis Construction Laborers Welfare Fund v. Aura
Contracting, LLC, 2012 WL 2684864, at *1 (E.D. Mo. July 6, 2012)). Appropriate sanctions
include monetary fines and the issuance of a writ of body attachment for incarceration until the
contempt is purged. Id. (citing Fisher v. Marubeni Cotton Corp., 526 F.2d 1338, 1340 (8th Cir.
1975) (fines); Painters Dist. Council No. 2 v. Paragon Painting of Missouri, LLC, 2011 WL
3891870, *1 (E.D. Mo. Sept. 1, 2011) (body attachment)). In addition, the issuance of an order of
contempt, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45(e) may include, pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 37(b), sanctions such as attorney’s fees and costs. Marshall Contracting,
2012 WL 4759772, at *1. A party seeking civil contempt bears the burden of proving by clear
and convincing evidence that the alleged contemnors violated a court order. Id. The Court’s
contempt power also extends to non-parties who have notice of the Court’s order and the
responsibility to comply with it. Greater St. Louis Construction Laborers Welfare Fund v. Hance
Excavating, LLC, 2008 WL 544718, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Feb. 26, 2008) (citations omitted).
Courts in this District have previously imposed compliance fines in ERISA delinquency
collection cases and ordered a defendant to reimburse the plaintiffs for attorneys’ fees incurred in
attempting to compel compliance with a Court order. See, e.g., Marshall Contracting, 2012 WL
4759772, at *1 (and cases cited therein). Incarceration has also been used to compel compliance
with Court orders in the context of ERISA delinquency actions. See, e.g., Paragon Painting, 2011
WL 3891870, at *1; Greater St. Louis Construction Laborers Welfare Fund v. Marvin Steel
Enters., No. 4:96-CV-1073 ERW, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Mar. 21, 1997) (ordering that a bench warrant
issued for the arrest of the individual defendants). In addition, Courts in this District have
imposed contempt sanctions on a corporation’s officer who failed to participate in post-judgment
discovery in a ERISA delinquency action. See, e.g., Carpenters’ District Council of Greater St.
Louis and Vicinity v. DLR Opportunities, Inc., No. 4:07-CV-00061 CAS, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Feb.
22, 2008) (imposing a compliance fine of $100 per day on the defendant’s president).
Pursuant to its Order of January 24, 2017 (Doc. No. 37), the Court held a show cause
hearing on the Motion for Contempt on February 23, 2017. Prior to the hearing, Plaintiffs
submitted a Memorandum (Doc. No. 38) verifying personal service by a private process server
on Defendant of the Court’s Show Cause Order. Defendant did not appear at the hearing.
On the basis of the record before it, the Court finds Defendant in contempt and will
award sanctions against Defendant in the form of a monetary compliance fine and attorneys’ fees
and costs incurred in bringing the Motion for Contempt.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ Motion for Contempt  is GRANTED
and Defendant Miller Building Group, LLC, is found in CONTEMPT of this Court. As
sanctioned, Defendant is liable for a fine of $200.00 per day for every day after this date that
Defendant fails to submit its records for inspection or otherwise comply with this Court’s Orders
and Plaintiffs’ discovery requests. Plaintiffs’ attorney shall contact the Court if and when
Defendant produces its records for inspection.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ request for an award of attorneys’ fees and
costs incurred in bringing their Motion for Contempt is GRANTED. Counsel for Plaintiffs is
granted until Monday, March 6, 2017 to file an affidavit of fees and costs for the Court’s
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ request that a writ of body attachment be
issued for Defendant Jimmie Miller is denied without prejudice. The Court will reconsider the
request after plaintiffs notice another deposition and defendant fails to appear.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs shall effect service of this Order on
Defendant by whatever means they believe to be most effective, and shall promptly file a
certificate of such service. Failure to show adequate evidence of prompt service may result in the
continuation or cancellation of the compliance fine ordered herein.
Dated this 27th day of February, 2017.
JOHN A. ROSS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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?