United States District Court, D. Minnesota
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT
WILHELMINA M. WRIGHT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' motions for
entry of default judgment. (Dkts. 13, 36.) For the reasons
addressed below, Plaintiffs' request for $16, 143.25 in
unpaid contributions, liquidated damages, and attorneys'
fees and costs is granted.
are the Sheet Metal Local #10 Control Board Trust Fund (Fund)
and its trustees. The trustees of the Fund ensure that
contractually bound employers accurately report and
contribute to employee benefit plans. Defendant Don Haught,
Inc., doing business as Clear Creek Plumbing and Heating and
as Clear Creek HVAC Services LLC (Clear Creek), agreed to be
bound by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA)
between the Bismarck-Minot Subdivision North Dakota &
South Dakota Division of SMARCA, Inc., and the International
Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation
Local Union No. 10 Bismarck-Minot North Dakota. The CBA
covers the period from June 17, 2013, through June 3, 2018.
Because the CBA automatically renews for an additional
12-month period, Clear Creek is bound by the CBA through at
least June 3, 2019.
relevant part, the CBA requires Clear Creek to make monthly
contributions to the Fund on behalf of its covered employees
for hours worked. The CBA also requires Clear Creek to set
forth the amount due and owing for contributions on a
remittance report form that is submitted to the Fund with its
monthly payment. An employer is “delinquent”
under the CBA if its remittance report and payment are not
received by the Fund on or before the fifteenth day of the
month following the month for which the contributions are
allege that Clear Creek failed to submit the contributions
that it owed to the Fund for the months of April and May
2018. Plaintiffs assert that Clear Creek's employees
worked certain hours covered by the CBA for which Clear Creek
did not submit contributions to the Fund. Plaintiffs
commenced this Employee Retirement Income Security Act
(ERISA) action against Clear Creek on June 26, 2018.
Plaintiffs served the summons and complaint on Clear Creek on
October 22, 2018. Clear Creek had 21 days to file an answer
or otherwise respond to the complaint. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 12(a)(1)(A)(i). That deadline passed without any
response to the complaint. Plaintiffs applied for an entry of
default under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a), which
the Clerk of Court entered on November 15, 2018.
moved for entry of default judgment on November 29, 2018.
Because Clear Creek had not produced the monthly remittance
reports for the period from May 2018 through November 2018 as
required by the CBA, Plaintiffs also sought an order
directing Clear Creek to produce the overdue remittance
reports. On March 15, 2019, the Court enjoined Clear Creek
from refusing to submit monthly remittance reports and held
Plaintiffs' motion for entry of default judgment in
abeyance until the record was supplemented as to the amount
of damages due.
Creek subsequently produced the required remittance report
for May 2018. Moreover, Clear Creek informed Plaintiffs that
it had ceased business operations as of May 23, 2018, and
thus did not have any remittance reports to submit for the
months of June 2018 through November 2018. Plaintiffs
supplemented the record with their updated damages
calculation and filed another motion for entry of default
judgment. Plaintiffs request $16, 143.25 for unpaid
contributions, liquidated damages, and attorneys' fees
obtain a default judgment, a party must follow a two-step
process. First, the party seeking a default judgment must
obtain an entry of default from the Clerk of Court.
“When a party against whom a judgment for affirmative
relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend, and
that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise, the clerk
must enter the party's default.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
55(a). Here, Plaintiffs sought an entry of default, and the
Clerk of Court entered default against Clear Creek on
November 15, 2018. The Clerk of Court's entry of default
is supported by the record, which reflects that Clear Creek
was properly served and failed to answer or otherwise respond
to the complaint. The first step of the process is complete.
after default has been entered, the party seeking affirmative
relief “must apply to the court for a default
judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). Upon default, the
factual allegations in the complaint are deemed admitted
except those relating to the amount of damages. Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(b)(6); accord Brown v. Kenron Aluminum & Glass
Corp., 477 F.2d 526, 531 (8th Cir. 1973). Therefore, the
remaining issue before the Court is to determine the amount
of damages. See Brown, 477 F.2d at 531. A party
entitled to a default judgment must prove its damages to a
reasonable degree of certainty. Everyday Learning Corp.
v. Larson, 242 F.3d 815, 818-19 (8th Cir. 2001). A
district court may establish damages “by taking
evidence when necessary or by computation from facts of
record, to fix the amount which the plaintiff is lawfully
entitled to recover and to give judgment accordingly.”
Pope v. United States, 323 U.S. 1, 12 (1944).
502(g)(2) of ERISA governs the calculation of damages for an
employer that fails to fulfill its contribution obligations,
providing that a court shall award:
(A) the unpaid contributions,
(B) interest on the unpaid ...