Greater St. Louis Construction Laborers Welfare Fund et al v. A & W Construction Company, Inc.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER... IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment (ECF No. 31 ) is GRANTED. A separate judgment shall accompany this Memorandum and Order. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court shall mail a c opy of this order and accompanying judgment to the Defendant via U.S. Mail and UPS at the following address: A & W Construction Company, Inc. Attn: Carolyn Adeniji 129 Bear Claw Drive Wentzville, Missouri 63385. Signed by District Judge Ronnie L. White on 8/18/2016. (NEB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
GREATER ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION
LABORERS WELFARE FUND, et al. ,
A & W CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC. ,
No. 4:14CV1650 RLW
MEMORANDUM AND OBDER
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment (ECF No. 31 ).
The record shows that Defendant A & W Construction Company, Inc., was served with the
summons and complaint on November 10, 2014, and has not filed an answer or other responsive
pleading. On Plaintiffs' motion, the Clerk of the Court entered default against Defendant on April
17, 2015. Plaintiffs also filed a motion to compel an accounting, which this Court granted.
Defendant did not comply with that Order, and Plaintiffs filed a motion for contempt. On
February 9, 2016, the Court held a hearing, during which time Defendant submitted the
requested accounting paperwork. On February 23 , 2016, Plaintiffs withdrew the motion for
contempt, notifying the Court that Defendant had complied with the Court' s order compelling an
accounting. The Court later granted Plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees related to the motion
for contempt. On July 14, 2016, Plaintiffs filed the present Motion for Default Judgment.
Plaintiffs filed this action on September 23, 2014 to recover from defendant A & W
Construction Company, Inc. , ("A & W") delinquent employee benefit contributions owed under
the collective bargaining agreement wherein Defendant A & W agreed to be bound to the collective
bargaining agreement between Laborers Local 42-53-110 and the Associated General Contractors of
St. Louis. (Graves Aff. if 2, ECF No. 31-4) Plaintiffs claim they are entitled to unpaid fringe
benefit contributions, interest, liquidated damages, attorneys' fees, and costs pursuant to Section
502 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended 29 U.S.C. § 1132.
Plaintiffs allege they conducted a payroll examination for the period of July 1, 2012 through
January 31 , 2016, which reflected unpaid fringe benefit contributions on hours worked by its
employees in the total amount of $7,700.65 owed to the Plaintiffs. (Massa Aff. if 4, ECF No.
31-2) Further Plaintiffs claim that they have incurred accounting fees of $901.00 and attorneys'
fees and costs in the amountof$3,660.61. 1 (MassaAff. if 5; GilbertAffif 7, ECFNo. 31-1)
"It is well established ... that the entry of default by the Clerk does not entitle the non-
defaulting party to a default judgment as a matter ofright." United States v. $345,510.00 in US.
Currency, No. Civ. 01-497(PAMJGL), 2002 WL 22040, at *2 (E.D. Minn. Jan. 2, 2002)
(citations omitted). Default judgments are disfavored under the law. United States ex rel. Time
Equip. Rental & Sales, Inc. v. Harre, 983 F.2d 128, 130 (8th Cir. 1993). Further, the entry of a
default judgment is committed to the sound discretion of the district court. Id.
"[W]hen a default judgment is entered, facts alleged in the complaint may not be later
contested." Marshall v. Baggett, 616 F.3d 849, 852 (8th Cir. 2010). However, "'it remains for
the [district] court to consider whether the unchallenged facts constitute a legitimate cause of
action, since a party in default does not admit mere conclusions of law.'" Murray v. Lene, 595
F.3d 868, 871 (8th Cir. 2010) (quoting lOA C. Wright, A. Miller & M. Kane, Federal Practice
and Procedure§ 2688 at 63 (3d ed. 1998)). Further, " [a] party seeking damages under a default
judgment must ... prove its rights to such damages with affidavits or other supporting
The attorneys ' fees do not include the $2,537.50 awarded by this Court as attorneys' fees
related to the motion for contempt. (ECF No. 30)
documentation." Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Kickers Corner of the Americas, Inc., No.
4:12CV02387 AGF, 2014 WL 805731 , at *2 (E.D. Mo. Feb. 28, 2014) (citations omitted).
Taking the allegations in their Complaint as true, Plaintiffs have established that
Defendant was bound by a valid collective bargaining agreement during the period of March 1,
2009 through March 1, 2014. (Graves Aff., ECF No. 31-4; Graves Exs. 1-3, ECF Nos. 31-5 to
31-7) Plaintiffs have also established that Defendant failed to comply with the terms of the
agreement by failing to report and pay fringe benefit contributions on hours worked by its
employees. Under ERISA and under the applicable collective bargaining agreement, Plaintiffs are
entitled to unpaid contributions, liquidated damages, interest, attorneys' fees, and payroll
examination costs. Based on the pleadings, the Court finds that Plaintiffs are entitled to default
Further, the Court has reviewed the evidence submitted by the Plaintiffs in support of their
request for damages. Plaintiffs have submitted an affidavit and exhibit from John Massa, a payroll
auditor with the firm RSM US, LLP. (MassaAff., ECFNo. 31-2; Massa Ex., ECFNo. 31-3) Mr.
Massa states that review of Defendant's records revealed a total of 377.00 unreported hours resulting
in the underpayment of $5,582.20 in contributions, on which was assessed $1 ,116.44 in liquidated
damages and $363.44 in interest. Mr. Massa further found $638.57 owing in supplemental dues,
liquidated damages, and interest on those dues. In addition, Mr. Massa avers that he billed Plaintiffs
$901.00 in accounting fees for the payroll examination. Mr. Massa has attached an exhibit reflecting
Plaintiffs have also submitted an affidavit from their attorney, Nathan K. Gilbert, setting
forth the attorneys' fees and costs incurred in this action. (Gilbert Aff., ECF No. 31-1) The affidavit
states that Plaintiffs have incurred $3,148.00 for legal services not related to the motion for contempt
and an additional $512.61 in court and service costs. Based on the evidence presented, the Court
finds that the services performed by Plaintiffs' attorneys were reasonable and necessary to the
litigation of this case, that the rates charged were reasonable, and that the amount sought for
attorneys' fees is reasonable. The Court therefore finds that Plaintiffs are entitled to a default
judgment against Defendant A & W in the total amount of $12,262.26, consisting of audit amounts
of $7,700.65 in contributions, supplemental dues, liquidated damages, and interest; $901.00 in
accounting fees; and $3,660.61 in attorneys' fees and costs.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment (ECF No. 31) is
GRANTED. A separate judgment shall accompany this Memorandum and Order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court shall mail a copy of this order
and accompanying judgment to the Defendant via U.S. Mail and UPS at the following address:
A & W Construction Company, Inc.
Attn: Carolyn Adeniji
129 Bear Claw Drive
Wentzville, Missouri 63385
Dated this 18th day of August, 2016.
RONNIE L. WHITE
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?