The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHRISTOPHER CONNER, District Judge
Presently before the court for judgment is the claim of
plaintiffs, the Central Pennsylvania Teamsters Health and Welfare
Fund ("Fund") and its trustees ("Trustees"), for remittance of
contributions allegedly owed by defendants, Newberry Township and
several municipal officials, on behalf of a non-union Township
employee, William Deardorff, under a collective bargaining
agreement ("Agreement")*fn1 between Newberry Township and
its employees' union. The Agreement provides that contributions
shall be made for each "Eligible Employee." The court previously
found this phrase to be ambiguous and indicated that resolution
of the meaning of the phrase would await trial, to permit "the
factfinder to determine, based on the terms of the Agreement and
extrinsic evidence, whether Mr. Deardorff [is] an `Eligible Employee' for
whom contributions [are] required."
A bench trial was held in July 2005. The evidence presented,
including the testimony of the administrator of the Fund,
demonstrates that Mr. Deardorff is not an "Eligible Employee."
The Fund does not have a right to receive contributions on his
behalf, and judgment will be entered in favor of Newberry
1. The Fund is a self-insured, jointly-administered,
multi-employer employee benefit fund under the Labor Management
Relations Act ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 186, and the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1002,
administered by the Trustees for the exclusive purpose of
providing welfare and other benefits to its participants and
beneficiaries and defraying the reasonable expenses of
administering the plan. (Doc. 163, Ex. J-6; Doc. 164 at 8-11).
2. The Fund receives contributions from various employers who
are contractually obligated to make contributions to the Fund by
virtue of being a party to collective bargaining agreements by
and between the employers and different unions, including Central
Pennsylvania Teamsters Local Union No. 430 and Central
Pennsylvania Teamsters Local Union No. 776 (collectively
"Union").*fn2 (See Doc. 63, Ex. J-6). 3. The Union is the exclusive bargaining representative for
nonprofessional employees, including highway workers, of Newberry
Township. (Doc. 52 ¶¶ 7-8).
4. The Union and Newberry Township are parties to the
Agreement, which governs the wages, hours, and other terms and
conditions of employment for employees of Newberry Township
represented by the Union. (Doc. 63, Exs. J-2, J-3, J-4).
5. Section 1 of Article 10 of the Agreement requires Newberry
Township to make "monthly contributions to [the Fund] for each
Eligible Employee covered by this Agreement in order to qualify
such Employee for benefits in accordance with the terms of the
Declaration of Trust." (E.g., Doc. 63, Ex. J-4 at 8).
6. Section 2 of Article 10 of the Agreement, titled
"Eligibility of Employees," provides that an "Employee shall be
deemed to be an Eligible Employee if such Employee has worked at
least sixty (60) hours for the Employer during the preceding
month." (E.g., Doc. 63, Ex. J-4 at 9).
7. All references to "employees" outside of Article 10 of the
Agreement are not capitalized, implying a distinction between an
"employee" and an "Employee." (Doc. 64 at 48; see, e.g., Doc.
63, Ex. J-4).
8. The Agreement does not define "Employee" or "Eligible
Employee." (See, e.g., Doc. 63, Ex. J-4).
9. The Agreement incorporates by reference the Declaration of
Trust. (See, e.g., Doc. 63, Ex. J-4 at 8; Doc. 64 at 50, 54). 10. The Union and Newberry Township are parties to separate
agreements providing that all matters relating to eligibility for
and participation in the Fund are governed by the Declaration of
Trust.*fn3 (Doc. 52 ¶¶ 4-5).
11. The Declaration of Trust provides that the "Employer shall
make prompt Contributions to the Fund in such amount and pursuant
to the terms and conditions set forth in the [Declaration of
Trust] and the rules and regulations of the Trustees which are
applicable thereto, all pursuant to the Collective Bargaining
Agreement in effect from time to time between the Employer or his
bargaining representative and the Local Union." (E.g., Doc. 63,
Ex. J-6 at 19-20).
12. The Declaration of Trust provides that "Contributions shall
be made for each Eligible Employee of the Employer." (E.g.,
Doc. 63, Ex. J-6 at 20).
13. The Declaration of Trust defines "Employee" and "Eligible
Employee"*fn4 as "[a] person working for an Employer, as
defined herein, which Employer is required to make proper
Contributions to the Fund pursuant to a Collective Bargaining
Agreement with a Local Union, who shall have been proposed as a ...