Plumbers, Pipefitters and Apprentices Local No. 112 Pension Fund et al v. D.J. Springer Inc. et al
ORDER adopting Report and Recommendations re 31 Report and Recommendations: The Court hereby ORDERS that Magistrate Judge Peebles's Report and Recommendation (Dkt. No. 31) is ADOPTED in full; and the Court furtherORDERS that the Clerk of the Court enter default against Defendants in this action; and the Court further ORDERS that Plaintiffs submit a motion for default judgment within sixty (60) days of this Order; and the Court furtherORDERS that the Clerk of the Court shall serve a copy of this Decision and Order on all parties in accordance with the Local Rules. Signed by U.S. District Judge Mae A. D'Agostino on 3/6/2018. (ban)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
PLUMBERS, PIPEFITTERS, AND APPRENTICES
LOCAL NO. 112 PENSION FUND, et al.,
D.J. SPRINGER, INC., JEANNETTE SPRINGER,
BLITMAN, KING LAW FIRM
443 North Franklin Street - Suite 300
Syracuse, New York 13204-1415
Attorneys for Plaintiffs
JENNIFER A. CLARK, ESQ.
OFFICE OF WALTER G. PRATT
510 Higby Road
New Hartford, New York 13413
Attorney for Defendants
WALTER G. PRATT, ESQ.
Mae A. D'Agostino, U.S. District Judge:
On March 18, 2016, Plaintiffs Plumbers, Pipefitters and Apprentices Local No. 112
Annuity Fund; Plumbers, Pipefitters and Apprentices Local No. 112 Health Fund; Plumbers,
Pipefitters and Apprentices Local No. 112 Educational and Apprenticeship Funds; Plumbers,
Pipefitters and Apprentices Local No. 112 and Employers Cooperative Trust; and Local No. 112
of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting
Industry of the United States and Canada ("Plaintiffs") brought this action against Defendants
D.J. Springer Inc. and Jeannette Springer ("Defendants"). See Dkt. No. 1. Plaintiffs allege that
Defendants are liable for failure to make contributions and deductions as required by the
Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq., and the
Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1985. See id. Presently
before the Court is Judge David E. Peebles's Report and Recommendation, which recommends
striking Defendants' answer and entering default against Defendants. See Dkt. No. 31. For the
following reasons, the Report and Recommendation is adopted in full.
In reviewing a report and recommendation, a district court "may accept, reject, or modify,
in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(C). When a party makes specific objections to a magistrate judge's report, the district
court engages in de novo review of the issues raised in the objections. See id.; Farid v. Bouey,
554 F. Supp. 2d 301, 307 (N.D.N.Y. 2008). When a party fails to make specific objections, the
court reviews the magistrate judge's report for clear error. See Farid, 554 F. Supp. 2d at 307;
accord Gamble v. Barnhart, No. 02-CV-1126, 2004 WL 2725126, *1 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 29, 2004).
Here, Plaintiffs filed their complaint on March 18, 2016, and Defendants answered on
April 15, 2016. See Dkt. Nos. 1, 5. After initial settlement discussions failed, Defendants
became entirely uncooperative in discovery and unresponsive to Court orders. See Dkt. No. 31 at
3-8. Eventually, Plaintiffs filed a letter request asking the Court to strike Defendants' answer and
enter default against Defendants. See Dkt. No. 28 at 1-2. In response, Magistrate Judge Peebles
issued a Report and Recommendation recommending that the Court grant that relief. See Dkt.
No. 31 at 12 ("As a result of defendants' persistent and unexcused failure to comply with serial
court orders directing them to provide the most basic discovery requested by plaintiffs, and the
fact that they had been repeatedly warned of the possibility of this sanction, I am recommending
that defendants answer to plaintiffs' complaint in this action be stricken and they be declared in
"'If a party . . . fails to obey an order to provide or permit discovery,' the district court may
impose sanctions, including 'rendering a default judgment against the disobedient party.'"
Guggenheim Capital, LLC v. Birnbaum, 722 F.3d 444, 450 (2d Cir. 2013) (alteration in original)
(quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(b)(2)(A)(vi)). Although entering a default judgment against a
defendant is a severe sanction, it is appropriate in "'extreme situations,' as 'when a court finds
willfulness, bad faith, or any fault on the part of the' noncompliant party." Id. (quoting Bobal v.
Rensselaer Polytechnitic Inst., 916 F.2d 759, 764 (2d Cir. 1990)). For the reasons laid out by
Magistrate Judge Peebles in the Report and Reccomendation, this case presents one of those
extreme situations where severe sanctions are appropriate. See Dkt. No. 31 at 3-8. Since
Defendants did not submit any objections, the Court has reviewed the Report and
Recommendation for clear error and found none.
After carefully reviewing the parties' submissions, Magistrate Judge Peebles's Report and
Recommendation, the applicable law and for the above-stated reasons, the Court hereby
ORDERS that Magistrate Judge Peebles's Report and Recommendation (Dkt. No. 31) is
ADOPTED in full; and the Court further
ORDERS that the Clerk of the Court enter default against Defendants in this action; and
the Court further
ORDERS that Plaintiffs submit a motion for default judgment within sixty (60) days of
this Order; and the Court further
ORDERS that the Clerk of the Court shall serve a copy of this Decision and Order on all
parties in accordance with the Local Rules.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: March 6, 2018
Albany, New York
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