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Trustees of the IBEW/NECA Sound and Communications Health and Welfare Trust v. Netversant Solutions II LP

United States District Court, Northern District of California, San Jose Division

January 8, 2015

TRUSTEES OF THE IBEW/NECA SOUND AND COMMUNICATIONS HEALTH AND WELFARE TRUST, H3EW NINTH DISTRICT PENSION TRUST, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA JOFNT APPRENTICESHIP AND TRAINING TRUST, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA LABOR MANAGEMENT COOPERATION TRUST, and THE NATIONAL ELECTRICAL BENEFIT TRUST; and DOUG LUNG AND GERALD PFEIFFER, TRUSTEES OF THE IBEW/NECA SOUND AND COMMUNICATIONS HEALTH AND WELFARE TRUST, Plaintiffs,
v.
NETVERSANT SOLUTIONS II LP, a Delaware partnership doing business in California, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT

RONALD M. WHYTE United States District Judge

On April 4, 2014 the court entered default against defendant Netversant Solutions II, LP. See Dkt. No. 17. Plaintiffs Trustees of the IBEW/NECA Sound and Communications Health and Welfare Trust, IBEW Ninth District Pension Trust, Northern California Joint Apprenticeship and Training Trust, Northern California Labor Management Cooperation Trust, and the National Electrical Benefit Trust, and Doug Lung and Gerald Pfeiffer, trustees of the IBEW/NECA Sound and Communications Health and Welfare Trust (collectively, plaintiffs or "Pfeiffer") move for damages pursuant to the default. Dk. No. 18. On December 9, 2014, plaintiffs filed an amended motion for default judgment. Dkt. No. 19. On December 12, 2014 the court held a hearing to determine damages.

This is an Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") collection case. According to plaintiffs, Netversant is an employer within the meaning of Sections 3(5) and 515 of ERISA, see 29 U.S.C. §§ 1002(5), 1145, and an employer in an industry affecting commerce within the meaning of Section 301 of the LMRA, see 29 U.S.C. § 185. First Amended Complaint ("FAC"), Dkt. No. 9, at ¶ 10. Netversant agreed to be bound to the terms and conditions of the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ("IBEW") and some of its local unions and Chapters of the National Electrical Contractors Association. FAC ¶ 7. The CBA governs the rates of pay and rules and working conditions for employees engaged in sound and communication industry electrical industry work. Id. The CBA also requires Netversant to make timely monthly contributions to trusts for fringe benefits for its covered employees. See Dkt. No. 18, at 3. These contribution rates are set forth in the CBA. Id. Employers who agree to be bound by the CBA also agree to be bound to the respective Trust Agreements. FAC ¶ 7.

Plaintiffs brought this action after Netversant failed to pay contributions required under the Trust Agreements. FAC ¶¶ 11, 13. Netversant was served on March 24, 2014, Dkt. No. 14, and when no answer was filed, the court entered default on April 4, 2014, Dkt. No. 17.

In their motion for damages, plaintiffs seek: (1) unpaid contributions of $25, 873.47 for the months of September and October 2014, Dkt. No. 19, at 2; and (2) $23, 000.39 in liquidated damages for the months of August 2013 through October 2014, id.; see also Declaration of Sandy Stephenson, Dkt No. 19-1, at 2-3. Plaintiffs also seek attorneys' fees and costs of $7, 220.00. Dkt. No. 19, at 2. The total judgment sought is $56, 093.86.[1] Id.

Plaintiffs brought this action to enforce 29 U.S.C. §1145, which requires certain employers to make contributions like those at issue here in accordance with the terms of the relevant plan or collective bargaining agreement. Under the relevant civil enforcement statute,

[T]he court shall award the plan—
(A) the unpaid contributions,
(B) interest on the unpaid contributions,
(C) an amount equal to the greater of—
(i) interest on the unpaid contributions, or
(ii) liquidated damages provided for under the plan in an amount not in excess of 20 percent. . . of the amount determined by the court under subparagraph (A),
(D) reasonable attorney's fees and costs of the action, to be paid by ...

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