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Tharp v. Five Star Flooring, L.L.C.

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

November 30, 2016

DAVID THARP, Board of Trustees Chairman, and DOUG ROBINSON, Board of Trustees Secretary, on behalf of INDIANA / KENTUCKY / OHIO REGIONAL COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS PENSION FUND; MARK McGRIFF, Board of Trustees Chairman, and GREG HAUSWALD, Board of Trustees Secretary, on behalf of INDIANA / KENTUCKY / OHIO REGIONAL COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PENSION TRUST FUND; MARK McGRIFF, Board of Trustees Co-Chairman, and WILLIAM NIX, Board of Trustees Co-Chairman, on behalf of INDIANA / KENTUCKY / OHIO REGIONAL COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS WELFARE FUND; MARK McGRIFF, Board of Trustees Chairman, and JOE COAR, Board of Trustees Secretary, on behalf of INDIANA / KENTUCKY / OHIO REGIONAL COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS JOINT APPRENTICESHIP AND TRAINING FUND; DOUGLAS J. McCARRON, Board of Trustees Chairman, on behalf of UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING FUND OF NORTH AMERICA; and INDIANA / KENTUCKY / OHIO REGIONAL COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS, Plaintiffs,
v.
FIVE STAR FLOORING, L.L.C., Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          PAUL R. CHERRY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         On September 27, 2016, Plaintiffs Indiana / Kentucky / Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters Pension Fund, Defined Contribution Pension Trust Fund, Welfare Fund, Joint Apprenticeship and Training Fund, United Brotherhood of Carpenters Apprenticeship Training Fund of North America, and Indiana / Kentucky / Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (the “Trust Funds” or the “Carpenters Union”) appeared by counsel Thomas E. Moss and Suzanne C. Dyer. Defendant Five Star Flooring, L.L.C., appeared by its General Manager Frank Mattei and by counsel Paul B. Poracky. A contested Bench Trial was held. The Court received evidence.

         Based upon the record of proceedings the Court FINDS, ORDERS, ADJUDGES, and DECREES:

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         1. On December 23, 2014, Plaintiffs filed their Amended Complaint alleging two Counts. [DE 5].

         2. On September 23, 2015, Defendant Five Star Flooring filed its Answer to Complaint. [DE 19].

         3. On September 12, 2016, the Final Pre-Trial Conference was held [DE 35].

         4. On September 27, 2016, the Bench Trial was held [DE 37].

         5. On October 4, 2016, an Amended Pre-Trial Order was filed [DE 40].

         6. On November 9, 2016, Plaintiffs and Defendant Five Star Flooring filed their respective Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law [DE 43, 44].

         7. The parties orally agreed on the record to have this case assigned to a United States Magistrate Judge to conduct all further proceedings and to order the entry of a final judgment in this case. Therefore, this Court has jurisdiction to decide this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) [DE 23].

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         8. The Indiana / Kentucky / Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (“the Carpenters Union”) is a labor union representing and acting for various carpenters in Indiana and elsewhere.

         9. The Plaintiff Trust Funds are entities created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001, et seq.; they are administered by the Carpenters Union.

         10. Defendant Five Star Flooring, L.L.C., is a business based in Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana engaged in floor construction, repair, and replacement. From time to time it hires carpenters to perform carpentry work.

         11. On March 12, 2012, the Carpenters Union and the Northwest Indiana Contractor Association of Indiana, Inc., entered a written contract known as the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) effective for the time period March 12, 2012, to May 31, 2015. Plaintiffs' Exhibit 2. The CBA was drafted by the Carpenters Union.

         12. On June 5, 2013, the Carpenters Union and Five Star Flooring entered a written contract titled a Memorandum of Agreement adopting and incorporating the CBA “and all approved amendments.” Plaintiffs' Exhibit 1. The Memorandum of Agreement was drafted by the Carpenters Union.

         13. The Memorandum of Agreement and CBA require Five Star Flooring to submit monthly written reports of the hours of covered work done by carpenters and the various fringe benefits owed to the ...


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