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LABORERS COMBINED FUNDS WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA v. AMIDIO MATTEI (10/08/86)

submitted: October 8, 1986.

LABORERS COMBINED FUNDS OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA, AS AGENT FOR PETER J. LIVOLSI, AND ALBERT W. BETLER, TRUSTEES AD LITEM, LABORERS DISTRICT COUNCIL OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA WELFARE AND PENSION FUNDS, THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY ADVANCEMENT PROGRAM OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA FUND, AND THE LABORERS DISTRICT COUNCIL OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA AND ITS AFFILIATED LOCAL UNIONS
v.
AMIDIO MATTEI, JOSEPH MATTEI AND DOMENIC J. MATTEI. APPEAL OF AMIDIO J. MATTEI AND DOMENIC J. MATTEI



Appeal from the Judgment entered on the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil at No. GD 84-3461.

COUNSEL

Paris A. Diamond, Pittsburgh, for appellants.

Gary P. Hunt, Pittsburgh, for appellees.

Del Sole, Kelly and Popovich, JJ.

Author: Popovich

[ 359 Pa. Super. Page 401]

This is an appeal from the judgment of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County entered against the appellants (Amidio and Domenic J. Mattei*fn1) in the amount of $44,247.65. We affirm in a case of first impression.

The undisputed facts reveal that the appellants are corporate officers of Mattei Bros., Inc., i.e., Domenic is secretary/treasurer with 49% of the stock and Amidio is president with 50% of the stock.

On October 27, 1982, Domenic, in his capacity as secretary/treasurer of the Corporation, entered into a collective bargaining agreement with the plaintiff/Laborers' District Council of Western Pennsylvania, an AFL-CIO affiliate representing eight (8) local unions. Pursuant to the agreement, the Corporation obligated itself to deduct a fixed percentage of monies from the employees' gross wages (for a Health and Welfare Fund, Pension Fund, Hourly Dues Deduction and Industry Advancement Funds) and remit the amount to a designated bank.

The plaintiff alleged in its complaint that the appellants failed to make the required payments from May through November of 1983. This failure to act, contended the plaintiff, constituted a violation of the collective bargaining agreement and entitled it to interest on the outstanding amount as a result thereof. Further, the plaintiff asserted that the appellants, as "officers and/or agents" of the Corporation, were considered an "employer" under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law (43 P.S. ยง 260.1 et seq.). Under this designation, urged the plaintiff, the appellants were automatically liable to pay liquidated damages for their default in the amount of 25% of the total remittance due.

The appellants' response was that their bookkeeper embezzled the Corporation's money, in the amount of $374,000, and, thus, the Corporation's ability to meet its obligations under the contract with the plaintiff was severely hampered.

[ 359 Pa. Super. Page 402]

In fact, the Corporation's efforts to satisfy the arrearages due the various funds, with money generated from accounts receivable (estimated at $25,000), proved to be no solution since the current amounts due these same funds, in turn, became delinquent and brought the Internal Revenue Service into the picture. The end result was the Corporation's filing Chapter XI bankruptcy in the Western District of Pennsylvania in an attempt to reorganize and salvage what it could of the business.*fn2

Following argument on the case, and the denial of post-trial exceptions, the court entered its order in favor of the plaintiff. The order was reduced ...


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