Iron Workers St. Louis District Council Annuity Trust et al v. United Ironworkers, Inc.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER... IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that summary judgment is entered on behalf of Plaintiffs and against Defendant in the amount of $95,854.99. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs request for audit costs shall be made by separate mot ion, with any supporting documentary evidence, within 21 days after the date of this Order. Defendant may file an opposition brief within 14 days after being served with the motion, and any reply shall be due within 7 days thereafter. IT IS FURTHE R ORDERED that any motion for attorneys fees shall be filed in accordance with the deadlines set forth in Local Rule 8.02. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the trial setting of October 11, 2016 is VACATED. Signed by District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig on 9/26/2016. (NEB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
IRON WORKERS ST. LOUIS
DISTRICT COUNCIL ANNUITY
TRUST, et al.,
UNITED IRONWORKERS, INC.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court following the Court’s September 8, 2016
Memorandum and Order, which granted in part and denied in part the parties’ cross
motions for summary judgment in this action under the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1145, to recover delinquent fringe benefit
contributions. The Court granted Defendant’s motion in part, to the extent it sought
judgment on Plaintiffs’ claims relating to alleged delinquent contributions based on
bonuses, hours worked by two individuals known as the Edwards Brothers, and hours
worked by ironworkers in Indiana. The Court denied Plaintiffs’ motion to this extent;
and otherwise granted Plaintiffs’ motion, including Plaintiffs’ request for its audit costs
of $41,407.75 and Plaintiffs’ request to compel a further audit for the period of July 1,
2014 to the present. With respect to audit costs, the Court held that audit costs were
assessable against the Defendant under the parties’ agreements and that Defendant had
not asserted that the amount of the audit costs was unreasonable.1
In connection with these rulings, the Court held that it would deduct from
Plaintiffs’ request for damages the amounts representing alleged delinquent contributions,
liquidated damages, and interest relating to bonuses, the Edwards Brothers, and hours
worked by ironworkers in Indiana. The Court ordered the parties to confer and submit
their agreed or respective positions as to these amounts. The Court stated that it would
enter final judgment after resolving this issue.
In their responses to the Court’s September 8, 2016 Memorandum and Order
(Doc. Nos. 57 & 58), the parties state their agreement that, after deducting amounts
representing alleged delinquent contributions, liquidated damages, and interest relating to
bonuses, the Edwards Brothers, and hours worked by ironworkers in Indiana, Plaintiffs’
In response to Plaintiffs’ statement of undisputed facts, which stated that Plaintiffs
incurred audit costs of $41,407.75 and cited in support thereof the auditor’s affidavit
attesting to this fact, Defendant merely stated that it was “without sufficient knowledge or
information to admit or deny the Plaintiffs’ accounting costs and therefore denies the
same.” (Doc. No. 47 at 9.) Local Rule 7–4.01 requires each memorandum in opposition
to summary judgment to set forth the material facts as to which a genuine issue exists,
including “specific references to portions of the record” upon which the opposing party
relies. L.R. 7–4.01(E). Unless specifically controverted, all matters set forth in the
statement of the movant are deemed admitted. Id. The Eighth Circuit has held that a
district court does not abuse its discretion when it deems admitted those statements of
undisputed facts that violate the local rules. Libel v. Adventure Lands of Am., Inc., 482
F.3d 1028, 1032 (8th Cir. 2007).
Because Defendant did not provide evidence contesting Plaintiffs’ statement of
material fact regarding the amount of audit costs incurred (which was supported by
evidence), the Court deemed that statement admitted. Defendant nowhere argued that the
amount of Plaintiffs’ audit costs was unreasonable.
remaining unpaid contributions, liquidated damages, and interest total $95,854.99.2 See
Doc. Nos. 57 & 58. Therefore, the Court will award Plaintiffs this amount.
However, Defendant raises two additional issues in its response. First, Defendant
argues that the Court should reconsider its award of audit costs because Plaintiffs have
not presented to Defendant or the Court a statement of audit services rendered in order to
assess the reasonableness of these costs. Defendant also argues that the audit costs
should be apportioned to deduct costs related to audit findings on which Plaintiffs did not
prevail (regarding bonuses, the Edwards Brothers and Indiana ironworkers). Second,
Defendant argues that it is entitled to attorneys’ fees because it prevailed to a large extent
on Plaintiffs’ claims. Defendant has not filed a separate motion to reconsider or a motion
for attorneys’ fees.
In its own response to the Court’s September 8, 2016 Memorandum and Order,
Plaintiffs argue that Defendant’s challenge to the audit costs is untimely. Plaintiffs argue
that Defendant could have challenged the reasonableness of Plaintiffs’ request for audit
costs in opposition to Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, and that Defendant
should not be able to do so now, after the Court has already ruled on this issue. Plaintiffs
also note that Defendant never asserted that it needed more discovery on the issue of
Plaintiffs’ audit costs. Regarding Defendant’s request to apportion the audit costs,
Plaintiffs cite several cases for the proposition that, in the analogous context of requests
for attorneys’ fees under ERISA, courts have rejected a “proportionality rule” that would
Although Defendant does not dispute this calculation, Defendant reserves its right
to challenge on appeal the Court’s finding as to Defendant’s liability on the merits.
reduce fee awards in some proportion to the plaintiff’s damages. See United Auto.
Workers Local 259 Soc. Sec. Dep't v. Metro Auto Ctr., 501 F.3d 283, 294 (3d Cir. 2007)
(rejecting argument that the court should reduce attorneys’ fees of $28,623.14 to make
the fees proportional to the plaintiff’s damages consisting of $1,928.00 in unpaid
With respect to Defendant’s request for attorneys’ fees, Plaintiffs state that
Defendant is not entitled to attorneys’ fees under ERISA or otherwise, and that Defendant
has not submitted documentation substantiating the amount of attorneys’ fees incurred.
In any event, Plaintiffs state that they reserve the right to submit a separate motion for
attorneys’ fees and to respond to any motion for attorneys’ fees filed by Defendant.
The Court agrees that Defendant could and should have asserted its objection to
Plaintiffs’ request for audit costs in its opposition to Plaintiffs’ motion for summary
judgment. See Julianello v. K-V Pharm. Co., 791 F.3d 915, 923 (8th Cir. 2015) (holding
that, generally, a “motion for reconsideration is not a vehicle to identify facts or legal
arguments that could have been, but were not, raised at the time the relevant motion was
pending”). Moreover, Defendant has not cited, and the Court has not found, any
authority for Defendant’s request to apportion or reduce audit costs because Plaintiffs did
not prevail on all aspects of their claims. Therefore, the Court rejects Defendant’s
request to apportion or reduce audit costs on this basis.
However, recognizing that it is Plaintiffs’ burden to demonstrate the
reasonableness of the audit costs incurred, see Trustees of Chicago Plastering Inst.
Pension Trust v. Cork Plastering Co., 570 F.3d 890, 906 (7th Cir. 2009), the Court will
exercise its discretion to reserve entering a final award of audit costs until Plaintiffs
submit documentation substantiating these costs. The Court will allow Defendant to
challenge the reasonableness of Plaintiffs’ request for costs, but as discussed above, it
will not consider any request by Defendants to apportion or reduce the costs because
Plaintiffs did not prevail on all aspects of their claims. The Court will also reserve ruling
on any request for attorneys’ fees until the parties file appropriate motions with
supporting memoranda and documentary evidence.
For the reasons set forth above,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that summary judgment is entered on behalf of
Plaintiffs and against Defendant in the amount of $95,854.99.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ request for audit costs shall be
made by separate motion, with any supporting documentary evidence, within 21 days
after the date of this Order. Defendant may file an opposition brief within 14 days after
being served with the motion, and any reply shall be due within 7 days thereafter.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that any motion for attorneys’ fees shall be filed in
accordance with the deadlines set forth in Local Rule 8.02.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the trial setting of October 11, 2016 is
AUDREY G. FLEISSIG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 26th day of September, 2016.
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