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Trustees of Oregon-Washington Carpenters-Employers Health and Welfare Trust Fund v. Cascade Structures LLC

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division

July 16, 2019

TRUSTEES OF THE OREGON-WASHINGTON CARPENTERS-EMPLOYERS HEALTH AND WELFARE TRUST FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CASCADE STRUCTURES LLC, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          YOULEE YIM YOU UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiffs, Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters (“Union”) and the trustees of various employer-related trust funds, have filed suit against defendant Cascade Structures LLC (“Cascade”) pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1001-1461, to collect unpaid fringe benefit contributions and union dues, and associated liquidated damages, interest and attorney's fees.[1] First Am. Compl., ECF #10. Plaintiffs have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, to which Cascade has not filed a response.[2] For the reasons discussed below, the motion should be granted.

         STANDARDS

         Under FRCP 56(a), “[t]he court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” The party moving for summary judgment bears the initial responsibility of informing the court of the basis for the motion and identifying portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions, or affidavits that demonstrate the absence of a triable issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party does so, the nonmoving party must “go beyond the pleadings” and “designate ‘specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'” Id. at 324 (citingFRCP 56(e)).

         In determining what facts are material, the court considers the underlying substantive law regarding the claims. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Otherwise stated, only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit preclude the entry of summary judgment. Id. A dispute about a material fact is genuine if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the non-moving party. Id. at 248-49. A “scintilla of evidence” or “evidence that is merely colorable or not significantly probative” is insufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact. Addisu v. Fred Meyer, Inc., 198 F.3d 1130, 1134 (9th Cir. 2000).

         The court “does not weigh the evidence or determine the truth of the matter, but only determines whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Balint v. Carson City, Nev., 180 F.3d 1047, 1054 (9th Cir. 1999). “Reasonable doubts as to the existence of material factual issue are resolved against the moving parties and inferences are drawn in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.” Addisu, 198 F.3d at 1134.

         FINDINGS

         The factual background of this case is outlined in the First Amended Complaint (ECF #10) and the Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF #28). In short, Cascade was bound by the Master Labor Agreement to pay union dues to the Union and fringe benefit contributions to the trust funds on behalf of certain employees. Johnson Decl. ¶ 8 (Ex. B).

         Under ERISA, Cascade is required to make such contributions:

Every employer who is obligated to make contributions to a multiemployer plan under the terms of the plan or under the terms of a collectively bargained agreement shall, to the extent not inconsistent with law, make such contributions in accordance with the terms and conditions of such plan or such agreement.

29 U.S.C. § 1145. Plaintiffs are entitled to bring a civil action such as this one for Cascade's failure to pay. 28 U.S.C. § 1132. If judgment is awarded in favor of plaintiffs, the “court shall award”:

(A) the unpaid contributions,
(B) interest on the unpaid contributions,
(C) an amount equal to the greater of- (i) interest on the unpaid ...

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