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Orange County Electrical Industry Health and Welfare Trust v. Moore Electrical Contracting

September 18, 2012

ORANGE COUNTY ELECTRICAL INDUSTRY HEALTH AND WELFARE TRUST FUND; LOCAL UNION NO. 441 OF THE INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS; AND DOUGLAS CHAPPELL, AS TRUSTEE OF THE ABOVE TRUST FUND, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MOORE ELECTRICAL CONTRACTING, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lucy H. Koh United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING THIRD MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT

United States District Cou For the Northern District of California

Plaintiffs Orange County Electrical Industry Health and Welfare Trust Fund (the "Trust Fund"); Local Union No. 441 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ("IBEW 22 Local 441"); and Douglas Chappell, as Trustee of the Trust Fund (collectively, "Plaintiffs"), bring 23 this action against Defendant Moore Electrical Contracting, Inc. ("Defendant"), alleging violations 24 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001-1191c, 25 and the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 141-188. Plaintiffs allege that 26 Defendant is delinquent in its payments into the Trust Fund and related employee benefit plans as 27 required by a collective bargaining agreement between the Orange County Chapter of the National 28 Electrical Contractors' Association and IBEW Local 441.

prejudice, largely due to inadequate supporting documentation. Defendant failed to oppose 3

Plaintiffs' first two motions for default judgment. Now before the Court is Plaintiffs' third 4 unopposed motion for default judgment. The Court finds this matter appropriate for determination 5 without oral argument and hereby VACATES the hearing and case management conference set for 6

GRANTS Plaintiffs' third motion for default judgment. 8

("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 185. Plaintiff Trust Fund is a multi-employer employee benefit plan 14 pursuant to ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1002(3), (37), and 29 U.S.C. § 1132(d)(1), and jointly trusted 15 employee benefit trust pursuant to the LMRA, 29 U.S.C. § 186(c)(5). Compl. ¶ 3. Plaintiff 16 441. Compl. ¶ 4. Defendant is an employer within the meaning of 29 U.S.C. §§ 1002(5), 1145, 18 and an employer in an industry affecting commerce within the meaning of section 301 of the 19

Assent binding itself to a collective bargaining agreement between the Orange County Chapter of 21 the National Electrical Contractors Association ("NECA") and the International Brotherhood of 22

Electrical Workers, Local 441 ("IBEW Local 441"), called the "Inside Wireman's Agreement." 23 See Compl. ¶ 7; Decl. of Chloe Quail, ECF No. 24 ("Quail Decl."), Ex. A (Letter of Assent); Decl. 24 of Benjamin Lunch, ECF No. 26-3 ("Lunch Decl."), Ex. A (2011-2012 Inside Wireman's 25 Inside Wireman's Agreement). The Inside Wireman's Agreement obligates Defendant to make 27 monthly benefit contributions to various funds for fringe benefits for covered employees. Compl. ¶ 28

The Court previously denied two of Plaintiffs' motions for default judgment without

September 20, 2012. Having considered Plaintiffs' motion and supporting declarations, the Court 7

I.BACKGROUND

A.Factual Allegations

This collection action arises out of Defendant's alleged failure to make monthly contributions to various employee benefit plans as required by the Employee Retirement Income

Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1145, and the Labor Management Relations Act 13

United States District Cou For the Northern District of California

Chappell is a trustee and fiduciary of the Trust Fund and the Business Manager of IBEW Local 17 LMRA, 29 U.S.C. § 185. Compl. ¶ 5. On November 16, 1982, Defendant signed a Letter of 20 Agreement); 2d Decl. of Benjamin Lunch, ECF No. 34-1 ("2d Lunch Decl."), Ex. A (2010-2011 26

7. The Inside Wireman's Agreement also requires Defendant to be bound to the applicable trust 2 agreements establishing each of the respective trust funds. Id. 3

4 are either represented by Doug Chappell as Trustee or have assigned their collection rights for 5 delinquent contributions to the Trust Fund: (1) the Trust Fund; (2) Orange County Electrical 6

Apprenticeship and Training Trust; (4) Orange County IBEW-NECA Labor Management 8

Electrical Industry Administrative Maintenance Fund; (8) National Electrical Industry Fund, 10

Dues. See Mot. at 3.

Plaintiffs allege that Defendant failed to make its required contributions from October 2010

13 through April 2011. See Revised Decl. of Sandy Stephenson, ECF No. 26-1 ("Stephenson Decl."), 14

¶¶ 3-10. In its attempts to collect funds, Plaintiffs recovered $50,773.26 from Defendant, which 15 was applied to Defendant's delinquency. Stephenson Decl. ¶ 3. Plaintiffs now seek a total 16 judgment of $111,266.98, comprising of $96,369.65 in total known outstanding damages, and 17

$14,897.33 in attorney's fees and costs. Mot. at 4-5. 18

20 counsel's motion to withdraw as counsel on July 20, 2011, on the ground that Defendant's ongoing 21 liquidation frustrated the attorney-client relationship. ECF No. 17 at 2. The Court also authorized 22

Plaintiffs to move for entry of default, pursuant to Civil Local Rule 3-9(b), if Defendant failed to 23 obtain new counsel within 30 days. Id. at 4. Defendant failed to obtain counsel, and the Clerk 24 subsequently entered Default on October 4, 2011. ECF No. 20. Plaintiffs filed a motion for 25 default judgment on October 7, 2011, seeking a total judgment of $148,736.53, comprising 26

$133,839.20 in total outstanding contributions, liquidated damages, and interest, and $14,897.33 in 27 attorneys' fees and costs. ECF No. 22. The Court denied Plaintiffs' motion, without prejudice, 28 because of deficiencies specified in the Court's Order Denying Without Prejudice Motion for

Plaintiffs seek to collect unpaid contributions on behalf of the following funds, all of which

Industry Defined Contribution Pension Plan; (3) Orange County Electrical Industry Joint 7

Cooperation Committee Trust; (5) National Electrical Benefit Fund; (6) IBEW ...


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