II. Maturation Date for Defendant's Contribution Obligations
This court also rejects Defendant's argument that the obligation to pay contributions for an employee did not mature until the employee presented Defendant with his or her pay card. The only issue before this court is the amount of contributions owed and damages incurred as a result of Defendant's failure to fulfil its obligations. Any objections to this court's determination of when Defendant's obligations under the Agreement matured were raised and rejected at the summary judgment stage. Defendant has offered no new evidence that has persuaded this court to revisit its previous determination.
III. Defendant's Payment of Health and Welfare and Vacation Benefits to Other Sources
This court also rejects Defendant's argument that Defendant's payment of vacation benefits to its employees directly and Defendant's payment of contributions to a private health and welfare trust fund released Defendant of the obligation to contribute to Plaintiff Trust Funds' Vacation Trust Fund and Health and Welfare Trust Fund. While, Defendant's direct payments to its employees may result in windfalls to those employees, it does not follow that Plaintiff Trust Funds suffered less damage than they are claiming. Plaintiff Trust Funds, which benefit all employees that enroll in JATC training programs, have been depleted by Defendant's failure to contribute and are simply seeking to compel the performance promised. Defendant's private decisions to pay out vacation benefits and to contribute to an independent health and welfare plan do not negate this essential fact. See Local 9, International Union of Operating Engineers v. Siegrist Constr. Co., 458 F.2d 1313 (10th Cir. 1972) (employer's payments directly to employees do not release employer from contractual obligation to contribute to employee benefits trust funds).
IV. Liquidated Damages
Plaintiff Trust Funds seek liquidated damages both for unpaid contributions which fell due before and for those which fell due after the initial complaint was filed. Because Plaintiff Trust Funds are indisputably entitled to 20% in statutory damages for unpaid contributions which fell due before the complaint was filed
, the only issue remaining to be settled is whether the award of statutory or contractual liquidated damages should include damages for contributions which fell due after the complaint was filed and which remain unpaid.
This issue has not been addressed directly by the Ninth Circuit. Based on the Ninth Circuit's statement that "unpaid contributions must exist at the time of suit for statutory liquidated damages to be awarded . . . .", Parkhurst v. Armstrong Steel Erectors, Inc., 901 F.2d 796 (9th Cir. 1990) and on the Ninth Circuit decision in Idaho Plumbers, Magistrate Wayne D. Brazil has ruled that statutory damages are not available for contributions which became delinquent after the complaint was filed and which remain unpaid. See Board of Trustees v. Udovch, 771 F. Supp. 1044 (N.D. Cal. 1991). However, the Ninth Circuit in Parkhurst and Idaho Plumbers did not consider the problem of unpaid contributions that fell due after the complaint was filed. To apply the specific holdings from these Ninth Circuit cases to the situation presented in the instant case would require Plaintiff Trust Funds to file multiple lawsuits to recover liquidated damages which came due after the complaint was filed. Such a procedure would needlessly burden the parties and the courts. Moreover, it would undermine the policy goals of deterring ERISA violations and of recompensing prevailing plans, which goals underlie ERISA's compensation scheme. In order to accomplish the policy goals of 29 U.S.C. 1332 in a fair and efficient manner, this court, thus, will allow Plaintiff Trust Funds to recover unpaid contributions which came due after the lawsuit was filed.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff Trust Funds' application for contributions, damages, costs and fees in the amount of $ 140,953.04 is granted. Defendant's request for separate trial on the issue of damages is denied.
Dated: September 11, 1992.
Stanley A. Weigel
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following court-provided text does not appear at this cite in 811 F. Supp. 1398.
JUDGMENT - September 16, 1992, Filed; September 21, 1992, Entered
Pursuant to the Order of this Court dated September 11, 1992 at page 2, line 21 to page 3, line 3; and page 8, lines 1 to 5, and good cause appearing therefor, it is hereby ORDERED that judgment be entered in favor of plaintiff, ROOFERS LOCAL UNION NO. 81 AREA HEALTH AND WELFARE, VACATION, PROMOTION, PENSION AND APPRENTICESHIP TRUST FUNDS, against defendant, WEDGE ROOFING, INC., a California corporation, also known as WEDGE ROOFING, as follows:
1. Principal $ 123,052.18
2. Interest 9,943.36
3. Attorneys fees 7,787.50
4. Costs 170.00
Total Judgment: $ 140,953.04
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