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International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Local 5 v. Banta Tile & Marble Company

September 8, 2008

INTERNATIONAL UNION OF BRICKLAYERS AND ALLIED CRAFTWORKERS, LOCAL 5 PLAINTIFF,
v.
BANTA TILE & MARBLE COMPANY, INC. DEFENDANT



Judge John E. Jones III

MEMORANDUM

This matter is before the Court on the cross-motions for summary judgment of the plaintiff International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers ("BAC"), Local 5 ("Local 5") (Doc. 13) and the defendant Banta Tile & Marble Company, Inc. ("Banta") (Doc. 17). For the reasons set forth below, Local 5's motion will be granted and Banta's motion denied.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is appropriate if the record establishes "that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Initially, the moving party bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The movant meets this burden by pointing to an absence of evidence supporting an essential element as to which the non-moving party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Id. at 325. Once the moving party meets its burden, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party to show that there is a genuine issue for trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2). An issue is "genuine" only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for the non-moving party, and a factual dispute is "material" only if it might affect the outcome of the action under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc, 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986).

In opposing summary judgment, the non-moving party "may not rely merely on allegations of denials in its own pleadings; rather, its response must ... set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2). The non-moving party "cannot rely on unsupported allegations, but must go beyond pleadings and provide some evidence that would show that there exists a genuine issue for trial." Jones v. United Parcel Serv., 214 F.3d 402, 407 (3d Cir. 2000). Arguments made in briefs "are not evidence and cannot by themselves create a factual dispute sufficient to defeat a summary judgment motion." Jersey Cent. Power & Light Co. v. Twp. of Lacey, 772 F.2d 1103, 1109-10 (3d Cir. 1985). However, the facts and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non- moving party. P.N. v. Clementon Bd. of Educ., 442 F.3d 848, 852 (3d Cir. 2006).

Summary judgment should not be granted when there is a disagreement about the facts or the proper inferences that a factfinder could draw from them. Peterson v. Lehigh Valley Dist. Council, 676 F.2d 81, 84 (3d Cir. 1982). Still, "the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; there must be a genuine issue of material fact to preclude summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48.

II. BACKGROUND

With this standard of review in mind, the following are the undisputed facts material to the present motions.

The defendant, Banta, is a corporation located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which engages in the installation of tile products. (Pl.'s Statement of Material Facts ["Pl. SMF"], Doc. 15, ¶¶ 3, 7; Def.'s Statement of Material Facts ["Def. SMF"], Doc. 19, ¶ 1.)*fn1 On January 28, 1997, Banta's then-president, Jeff Banta, signed two separate collective bargaining agreements ("CBA"). (Pl.'s SMF ¶ 8.) The first agreement was between the Associated Tile Contractors of Philadelphia and Suburbs (the "Association") and the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Local 1 ("Local 1"), and had term dates of May 1, 2996 to April 30, 1998 (the "1996 Tile Agreement"). (Id. at ¶ 9.) The second agreement was between the Association and Local 1, and had term dates of May 1, 1993 to April 30, 1998 (the "1993 Finishers Agreement"). (Id. at ¶ 12.) Banta was not a member of the Association which negotiated these CBAs with Local 1, but nonetheless, signed the agreements as an independent signatory employer. (Id. at ¶¶ 10, 12.)

Both the 1996 Tile Agreement and the 1993 Finishers Agreement contain "evergreen" clauses which provide that the agreements will remain in effect unless certain conditions are met. Specifically, the agreements provide:

This Agreement shall remain in full force and effect through April 30, 1998 and shall continue thereafter unless there has been given not less than ninety (90) days written notice by Registered or Certified Mail, by either party hereto, of the desire to modify and amend this Agreement through negotiations. In the absence of such notice, the Employer and the Union agree to be bound by the area wide negotiated contracts with the Associated Tile Contractors of Philadelphia and Suburbs and extending this Agreement for the life of the newly negotiated contract.

Banta's counter-statement violates both the spirit and letter of Local Rule 56.1, which is designed to assist the Court in resolving summary judgment motions, and regrettably for Banta, these admissions are the product of that violation.

(Id. at ¶¶ 11, 13.) In 1998 and again in 2001, the Association and Local 1 entered into successor agreements to the 1996 Tile Agreement and the 1993 Finishers Agreement which contained the same evergreen clauses. (Id. at ¶¶ 15-17, 19.) At no time did Banta or Local 1 provide notice of a desire to modify or amend the agreements. (Id. at ¶¶ 14, 18, 21.)

In 2004, the Association and Local 1 negotiated a successor agreement to the tile and finishers agreements, which contains the ...


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