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Trustees of Eighth Dist. Electrical Pension Fund v. Gietzen Electrical Inc.

United States District Court, D. Idaho

September 24, 2012

The TRUSTEES OF the EIGHTH DISTRICT ELECTRICAL PENSION FUND, Delinquency Committee of the Eighth District Electrical Pension Fund, Plaintiffs,
v.
GIETZEN ELECTRIC, INC., Defendant.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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James Marshall Piotrowski, Marty Durand, Herzfeld & Piotrowski, Boise, ID, for Plaintiffs.

C. Clayton Gill, Moffatt Thomas Barrett Rock & Fields, Boise, ID, for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE:

PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Docket No. 20)

DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT AGAINST PLAINTIFFS— CLAIMS BARRED BY STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS (Docket No. 21)

RONALD E. BUSH, United States Magistrate Judge.

Currently pending before the Court are (1) Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 20) and (2) Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Docket No. 21). Having participated in oral argument, carefully considered the record, and otherwise being fully advised, the Court enters the following Memorandum Decision and Order:

I. GENERAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs The Trustees for the Eighth District Electrical Pension Fund, Delinquency Committee of the Eighth District Electrical Pension Fund (the " Fund" ) seek to enforce alleged obligations arising under certain Trust Agreements, the provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (" ERISA" ), certain contracts, and certain Collective Bargaining Agreements. See Pls.' Compl., ΒΆ 1 (Docket No. 1). Specifically, the Fund alleges that Defendant Gietzen Electric, Inc. (" Gietzen" ) failed to make trust contributions required to provide health, welfare, and retirement benefits to its employees. See id.

Through its Motion for Summary Judgment, the Fund seeks to enforce those obligations, arguing that, as a matter of law, (1) Gietzen is liable for the unpaid health, welfare, and retirement benefits owed to the Fund, and (2) Gietzen's affirmative defenses do not apply. See Pls.' Mem. in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J., p. 1 (Docket No. 20, Att. 1). In response, Gietzen argues that (1) it was not obligated to pay contributions for those employees it was forced to hire directly from the labor market rather than through the union hall, owing to the union's failure to provide Gietzen with qualified electricians; (2) the Fund overstated the contribution rate for the health and welfare plan; (3) the Fund's claims are barred in part by the applicable statute of limitations; [1] (4) the Fund cannot collect unpaid contributions for the health and welfare plan without proving that they notified Gietzen's employees about their participation and rights under such plan; and (5) the Trust Agreements give the Court discretion to deny an award of interest, liquidated damages, costs, and attorneys' fees for good cause shown and that, here, Gietzen should not be responsible for such sums because the issues relating to unpaid contributions were caused by the union's failure to provide Gietzen with qualified electricians. See Def.'s Opp. to Pls.' Mot. for Summ. J., p. 2 (Docket No. 22).

II. DISCUSSION

A. Motion for Summary Judgment: Standard of Review

Summary judgment is used " to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims...." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). It is " not a disfavored

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procedural shortcut," but rather is " the principal tool[ ] by which factually insufficient claims or defenses [can] be isolated and prevented from going to trial with the attendant unwarranted consumption of public and private resources." Id. at 327, 106 S.Ct. 2548. " [T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).

However, the evidence, including all reasonable inferences which may be drawn therefrom, must be viewed in a light most favorable to the non-moving party ( see id. at 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505) and the Court must not make credibility findings. Id. Direct testimony of the non-movant must be believed, however implausible. Leslie v. Grupo ICA, 198 F.3d 1152, 1159 (9th Cir.1999). On the other hand, the Court is not required to adopt ...


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