United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
LABORERS' COMBINED FUNDS OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA, as agent for Philip Ameris, and Paul
Scabilloni, 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, Plaintiff,
MOLINARO CORPORATION and ANTHONY LEONE, Defendants. BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE BRICKLAYERS OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA COMBINED FUNDS, INC ., Plaintiff,
MOLINARO CORPORATION and ANTHONY LEONE, Defendants.
STEWART CERCONE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Laborers' Combined Funds of Western Pennsylvania
(“Laborer Funds”) and Board of Trustees of the
Bricklayers of Western Pennsylvania Combined Funds, Inc.
(“Bricklayer Funds”) (collectively
“Funds” or “Plaintiffs”), instituted
these related actions against Defendants, Molinaro
Corporation (“Molinaro”) and Anthony Leone
“Defendants”), to recover fringe benefits and
wage deductions Defendants allegedly were required to
contribute to the Funds for the period from February 2015
through June 30, 2015, under certain signed collective
bargaining agreements and incorporated Trust Agreements. The
Funds each filed a motion for summary judgment, Defendants
have responded, and the motions are now ripe for review.
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
Funds are multi-employer employee benefit plans within the
meaning of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of
1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1002 et seq.Pl.
CSMF ¶ 1. During the time period relevant to this
action, Molinaro was engaged in the business of operating a
construction company in or about Western Pennsylvania. Pl.
CSMF ¶ 2. At all relevant times, Anthony Leone was the
sole shareholder, sole director, President, Secretary and
Treasurer of Molinaro. Pl. CSMF ¶ 3 (citing Deposition
of Anthony Leone (“Leone Dep.”) (Ex. 14) at
times material, Molinaro was bound by collective bargaining
agreements (“CBAs”) with the Laborer and
Bricklayer Unions (“Unions”) that required
Molinaro to submit certain amounts for fringe benefits and
wage deductions to the Funds on behalf of Molinaro's
laborers and bricklayers. Pl. CMSF ¶ 4 (citing Pecora
Affidavit (Ex. 2) ¶ 3; Ex. 10A at 43-48, 60-61; Ringer
Affidavit (Ex. 4) ¶ 3; Ex. 11A at 11-13, 42; Leone Dep.
at 13-14). The CBAs provided for the assessment of interest,
late charges/liquidated damages, and attorneys' fees for
each month that Molinaro failed to submit timely payment to
the Funds. Pl. CMSF ¶ 5 (citing Ex. 10A at 43-44, 50;
Ex. 10B; Ex. 11A at 11-13; Ex. 11B).
January 2015 through May 2015, Molinaro employed laborers and
bricklayers on various construction sites who performed work
covered by such CBAs, and Molinaro and Leone failed to pay
fringe benefit contributions and wage deductions on behalf of
Molinaro's laborer and bricklayer employees for such
work. Pl. CMSF ¶ 6 (citing Botsford Affidavit (Ex. 1)
¶¶2-5; DiCresce Affidavit (Ex. 3) ¶¶
2-5). The Funds performed audits of the payroll books and
records of Molinaro and provided audit reports to Molinaro.
Pl. CMSF ¶ 8.
Funds cite portions of Leone's deposition as corporate
designee of Molinaro, in which Leone admits that, from August
2014 to the present, he: was the sole director, shareholder,
and officer of Molinaro; signed Molinaro's CBAs with the
Laborer and Bricklayer Unions as President; had the sole
authority to decide what Molinaro bills were to be paid and
not paid; had authority to sign Molinaro checks; oversaw the
collection of all Molinaro's accounts receivables; knew
or should have known of the amounts owed by Molinaro to the
Funds since Molinaro filed reports without payment to the
Funds listing the amounts owed and was sent by the Fund
auditors' reports of the amounts of the audit
deficiencies to the Funds; received weekly paychecks from
Molinaro from August 2014 through the cessation of business
of Molinaro in the summer of 2015; and personally guaranteed
Molinaro's credit line with Molinaro's bank and made
payments on the line after August 2014. Pl. CMSF ¶ 9
(citing Leone Dep. at 8-9, 11, 14, 29-32).
of the Funds' Complaints is an ERISA collection action
against Molinaro for the alleged delinquency amounts. Counts
II and III seek recovery from Defendant Leone on the grounds
that he is personally liable for the amounts in question for
breach of his ERISA fiduciary duties (Count II) and for state
law conversion of the funds (Count III). The Funds contend
that, as a result of Defendants' failure to pay,
Defendants are liable to the Funds for principal, interest,
late charges/liquidated damages, attorneys' fees, and
costs in an amount in excess of $110, 000. Pl. CMSF
¶¶ 7, 10 and Exs. 12, 13 (itemizing alleged
Legal Standard for Summary Judgment
judgment may only be granted where the moving party shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact, and
that a judgment as a matter of law is warranted. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, the
court must enter summary judgment against a party who fails
to make a showing sufficient to establish an element
essential to his or her case, and on which he or she will
bear the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). In evaluating the
evidence, the court must interpret the facts in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party, drawing all reasonable
inferences in his or her favor. Watson v. Abington
Twp., 478 F.3d 144, 147 (3d Cir. 2007). The burden is
initially on the moving party to demonstrate that the
evidence contained in the record does not create a genuine
issue of material fact. Conoshenti v. Pub. Serv. Elec.
& Gas Co., 364 F.3d 135, 140 (3d Cir. 2004). A
dispute is “genuine” if the evidence is such that
a reasonable trier of fact could render a finding in favor of
the nonmoving party. McGreevy v. Stroup, 413 F.3d
359, 363 (3d Cir. 2005). Where the nonmoving party will bear
the burden of proof at trial, the moving party may meet its
burden by showing that the admissible evidence contained in
the record would be insufficient to carry the nonmoving
party's burden of proof. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322.
Once the moving party satisfies its burden, the burden shifts
to the nonmoving party, who must go beyond his or her
pleadings and designate specific facts by the use of
affidavits, depositions, admissions or answers to
interrogatories showing that there is a genuine issue of
material fact for trial. Id. at 324. The nonmoving
party cannot defeat a well-supported motion for summary
judgment by simply reasserting unsupported factual
allegations contained in his or her pleadings. Williams
v. Borough of West Chester, 891 F.2d 458, 460 (3d Cir.
reasons set forth below, the Funds are entitled to summary
judgment as to liability on the claims set forth in the
Count I - ERISA ...