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Precise Material Services, Inc. v. Teamsters Local Union No. 135

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

January 25, 2017

PRECISE MATERIAL SERVICES, INC., and ANDERSON NANCY, Plaintiffs,
v.
TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION NO. 135, Defendant.,

          ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          LARRY J. McKINNEY, JUDGE.

         Defendant Teamsters Local Union No. 135 (“Local 135”) has moved for summary judgment on all the claims in Plaintiffs', Precise Material Services, Inc. (“Precise”), and Nancy Anderson (“Anderson”) (collectively, “Plaintiffs”), Amended Complaint. Dkt. No. 38. For the reasons stated herein, Local 135's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

         I. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         As stated by the Supreme Court, summary judgment is not a disfavored procedural shortcut, but rather is an integral part of the federal rules as a whole, which are designed to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986); see also United Ass'n of Black Landscapers v. City of Milwaukee, 916 F.2d 1261, 1267-68 (7th Cir. 1990). Motions for summary judgment are governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), which provides in relevant part:

The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

         Once a party has made a properly-supported motion for summary judgment, the opposing party may not simply rest upon the pleadings but must instead submit evidentiary materials showing that a fact either is or cannot be genuinely disputed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). A genuine issue of material fact exists whenever “there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). The nonmoving party bears the burden of demonstrating that such a genuine issue of material fact exists. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986); Goodman v. Nat'l Sec. Agency, Inc.. 621 F.3d 651, 654 (7th Cir. 2010). It is not the duty of the Court to scour the record in search of evidence to defeat a motion for summary judgment; rather, the nonmoving party bears the responsibility of identifying applicable evidence. See Goodman, 621 F.3d at 654; Bombard v. Fort Wayne Newspapers, Inc., 92 F.3d 560, 562 (7th Cir. 1996).

         II. UNDISPUTED FACTS

         The Complaint and Amended Complaint in this case were filed by an attorney. See Dkt. Nos. 1 & 5. On October 10, 2016, Local 135 filed its Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt. No. 38. On the same date, Plaintiffs' counsel moved to withdraw. Dkt. No. 37. On October 13, 2016, the Court held a hearing on the motion and granted it, notified Anderson that Precise could not proceed without counsel, and ordered Precise to obtain counsel on or before November 28, 2016. Dkt. No. 42. Precise and Anderson did not cause counsel to appear by that date and at the Status Conference held on November 29, 2016, Anderson reported that she had not yet retained counsel. Dkt. No. 43. At that Conference, the Court also reminded Anderson that Precise could not proceed pro se, and reminded Anderson of the December 19, 2016, deadline to file a response to Local 135's Motion for Summary Judgment. Id. To date, Anderson has not filed a response and no attorney has appeared for Precise; therefore, the Court must conclude that there is no genuine issue of material fact as to Local 135's Statement of Material Facts Not In Dispute. See Steward v. McGinnis, 5 F.3d 1031, 1034 (7th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1121 (1994); S.D. Ind. L.R. 56-1(f)(1). However, summary judgment in favor of Local 135 is not automatic; rather, the Court must determine that given the undisputed facts, summary judgment is proper as a matter of law. See Wienco, Inc. v. Katahn Assocs., Inc., 965 F.2d 565, 568 (7th Cir. 1992).

         The material facts not in dispute are:

         Local 135 is an unincorporated labor association headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dkt. No. 18, Local 135's Ans. to Am. Compl. ¶ 9. Precise is a trucking and hauling company headquartered in Lebanon, Indiana. Anderson Dep. at 15 & Exh. 1. Anderson is the owner and President of Precise. Anderson Dep. at 10, 15; & Anderson Dep. Exh. 1.

         Precise was incorporated on May 20, 2009. Anderson Dep. at 10; & Anderson Dep. Exh. 1. Precise began performing hauling services on road construction projects in 2012. Anderson Dep. at 10-12, 14. Precise went out of business in November 2013. Id. at 13.

         Prior to 2012, Precise was solely engaged in leasing trucks to a trucking company called Circle City Hauling, which is owned by Anderson's husband, Rick Anderson (“Rick”). Anderson Dep. at 10-12.

         Precise was party to a collective bargaining agreement (the “CBA”) with Teamsters Joint Council 69, which is comprised of five Teamster local unions in the state of Indiana, including Local 135. Anderson Dep. Exh. 2 (“CBA”). The CBA was Dated: Precise's behalf by Anderson as “Owner/President” on May 7, 2012. Id. The CBA covers, among other things, “the hauling of construction materials to, from and on the job site by the Employer . . . .” Id. at 5.

         Article 15 of the CBA contains a grievance procedure culminating in final and binding arbitration before an arbitrator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (“FMCS”). Id. at 20-21. Anderson was aware of the grievance procedure contained in the CBA, but she did not file a grievance before filing this lawsuit, nor was she prevented from doing so. Anderson Dep. at 24, 40.

         Article 22 of the CBA requires signatory employers to make health and welfare contributions on behalf of their employees to the Indiana Teamsters Health Benefits Fund for their employees' health and welfare benefits. CBA at 24-26.

         Article 23 of the CBA requires signatory employers to make contributions on behalf of their employees to the Indiana Teamsters Pension Fund or the Central States Pension Fund for their employees' retirement benefits. Id. at 28-31. Precise agreed to contribute to the Indiana Teamsters Pension Fund. Anderson Dep. at 29; Anderson Dep. Exh. 4.

         Articles 22 and 23, respectively, provide that if a signatory employer fails to make its health and welfare or pension contributions on behalf of its employees, the employees and their local union “shall have the right to take such action as they deem necessary, including, but not limited to, the following: (1) refraining from work, strike and picketing until such ...


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