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Cement Masons Union Local No. 592 v. Lukis

United States District Court, Third Circuit

January 7, 2014

CEMENT MASONS UNION LOCAL NO. 592, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
MICHAEL LUKIS, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM

ROBERT F. KELLY, Sr., District Judge.

Presently before this Court is Defendant's "Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), or in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment Pursuant to Rule 56, " and Plaintiffs' Response in Opposition. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

The Parties

Plaintiffs, Cement Masons' Union Local No. 592 Pension Fund ("Pension Fund"), Cement Masons' Union Local No. 592 Welfare Fund ("Welfare Fund") and Cement Masons' Joint Apprenticeship Training Fund of Philadelphia and Vicinity ("Apprentice Fund"), are trust funds established under 29 U.S.C. § 186(c)(5). Compl. ¶¶ 4-6. Plaintiff, General Building Contractors Association, Inc. Industry Advancement Program ("IAP"), is a fund established by the General Building Contractors Association, Inc. for the purpose of fostering and advancing the interests of the general building construction industry in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Id . ¶ 7. Plaintiff, Cement Masons' Union Local No. 592 Political Action Committee ("PAC"), is an unincorporated association established for the purpose of advancing the political interests of the members of the Union. Id . ¶ 8. Plaintiff, Cement Masons' Union Local No. 592 of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ("Union"), is an unincorporated association commonly referred to as a labor union and is the authorized collection agent for PAC and IAP. Id . ¶ 9. The Pension Fund, Welfare Fund, Apprenticeship Fund, IAP, PAC and Union maintain their principal places of business and are administered from offices located in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Id . ¶ 10. Plaintiff, Bill Ousey ("Ousey"), is a fiduciary with respect to the Pension Fund, Welfare Fund and Apprenticeship Fund. Id . ¶ 11. Ousey is also Chairman of the PAC and President and Business Manager of the Union. Id . Plaintiffs, Pension Fund, Welfare Fund, Apprenticeship Fund, IAP, PAC, Union and Ousey (collectively, "Plaintiffs"), filed suit against Defendant Michael Lukis ("Defendant") alleging that he was doing business as Malcon Contractors, which is an employer with a business office or registered agent operating out of Burlington, New Jersey. Id . ¶ 12.

Factual History

According to Plaintiffs, at all times relevant to this action, Defendant was a party to or agreed to abide by the terms and conditions of a collective bargaining agreement (the "Labor Contract") with the Union.[1] Id . ¶ 13. The Labor Contract required Defendant to: (a) make full and timely payments on a monthly basis; (b) file monthly remittance reports detailing all employees or work for which contributions were required under the Labor Contract; and, (3) to produce upon request all books or records deemed necessary to conduct an audit of their records concerning their obligations. Id . ¶ 15. The Labor Contract further states that in the event Defendant fails to comply with the terms of the contract, Defendant is obligated to pay liquidated damages, interest and all the costs of litigation, including attorneys' fees. Id.

On May 30, 2013, Plaintiffs filed suit against Defendant for allegedly violating the Labor Contract by failing to provide financial information and neglecting to pay the fees required under the contract. See Doc. 1. In this action, Plaintiffs seek an audit of Defendant's financial records and the payment of contributions required under the Labor Contract and ERISA. Compl. ¶¶ 5-8.

On November 11, 2013, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss and/or Motion for Summary Judgment. See Doc. 4. Two weeks later, Plaintiffs filed a Response in Opposition on November 25, 2013. See Doc 5.

II. STANDARDS OF LAW

A. Dismissal Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)

A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of a complaint. Kost v. Kozakiewicz , 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993). Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the defendant bears the burden of demonstrating that the plaintiff has failed to set forth a claim from which relief may be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6); see also Lucas v. City of Phila., No. 11-4376 , 2012 WL 1555430, at *2 (E.D. Pa. May 2, 2012) (citing Hedges v. U.S. , 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005)). In evaluating a motion to dismiss, the court must view any reasonable inferences from the factual allegations in a light most favorable to the plaintiff. Buck v. Hamilton Twp. Sch. Dist. , 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2002).

The Supreme Court set forth in Twombly, and further defined in Iqbal, a two-part test to determine whether to grant or deny a motion to dismiss. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ("Third Circuit") has noted that these cases signify the progression from liberal pleading requirements to more "exacting scrutiny" of the complaint. Wilson v. City of Phila. , 415 F. Appx. 434, 436 (3d Cir. 2011).

Initially, the court must ascertain whether the complaint is supported by well-pleaded factual allegations. Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 679. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555. Conclusions of law can serve as the foundation of a complaint, but to survive dismissal they must be supported by factual allegations. Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 679. These factual allegations must be explicated sufficiently to provide a defendant the type of notice that is contemplated by Rule 8. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) (requiring a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief); ...


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