United States District Court, D. Colorado
BRICKLAYERS AND TROWEL TRADES INTERNATIONAL PENSION FUND IPF; BRICKLAYERS & ALLIED CRAFTWORKERS INTERNATIONAL HEALTH FUND IHF; COLORADO TROWEL TRADES JOINT APPRENTICESHIP AND TRAINING FUND; and INTERNATIONAL MASONRY INSTITUTE IMI, Plaintiffs,
THE DENVER MARBLE COMPANY, Defendant.
RAYMOND P. MOORE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Renewed Motion
for Entry of Default Judgment and for Award of Attorneys'
Fees and Non-Taxable Costs (Motion, ECF No. 26). The case
involves Plaintiffs' alleged rights to monetary
contributions under the Employee Retirement Income Security
Act (“ERISA”) and a Collective Bargaining
Agreement (“CBA”). The Court denied
Plaintiffs' first motion for default judgment because
they had not provided (A) a clear indication of the specific
source of recovery requested (ERISA or CBA) or sufficient
proof to support said recovery, matched to the elements of an
ERISA claim; and (B) direction as to whether they maintained
their request for injunctive relief. (Id. at 3-4.)
The instant Motion cures only some of these defects;
therefore, it is DENIED without prejudice.
may not simply sit out the litigation without consequence.
See Cessna Fin. Corp. v. Bielenberg Masonry Contracting,
Inc., 715 F.2d 1442, 1444-45 (10th Cir. 1983)
(“[A] workable system of justice requires that
litigants not be free to appear at their pleasure. We
therefore must hold parties and their attorneys to a
reasonably high standard of diligence in observing the
courts' rules of procedure. The threat of judgment by
default serves as an incentive to meet this
after default, however, it remains for the court to consider
whether the unchallenged facts constitute a legitimate cause
of action, since a party in default does not admit mere
conclusions of law.” 10A Wright et al., Fed. Prac.
& Proc. § 2688, at 63. Additionally, a court need
not accept conclusory allegations. Moffett v. Halliburton
Energy Servs., Inc., 291 F.3d 1227, 1232 (10th Cir.
2002). Although “[s]pecific facts are not
necessary” in order to state a claim, Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)), the well-pleaded facts must “permit the court
to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009)
(internal quotation marks and alteration marks omitted).
“[A] party is not entitled to a default judgment as of
right; rather the entry of a default judgment is entrusted to
the ‘sound judicial discretion' of the
court.” Greenwich Ins. Co. v. Daniel Law
Firm, No. 07-cv-2445-LTB-MJW, 2008 WL 793606, at *2 (D.
Colo. Mar. 22, 2008) (citation omitted, brackets in
original); Tripodi v. Welch, 810 F.3d 761, 764 (10th
Cir. 2016) (default judgment committed to court's sound
a clerk's entry of default, courts follow two steps
before granting default judgment. First, a court must ensure
it has subject matter and personal jurisdiction. Williams
v. Life Sav. & Loan, 802 F.2d 1200, 1203 (10th Cir.
1986); Marcus Food Co. v. DiPanfilo, 671 F.3d 1159,
1166 (10th Cir. 2011) (default judgment against defendant
over whom court has no personal jurisdiction is void).
Second, courts consider whether the well-pleaded allegations
of fact-which are admitted by a defendant upon
default-support a judgment on the claims against the
defaulting defendant. See Tripodi, 810 F.3d at 764
(by his default, defendant relieved plaintiff from having to
prove complaint's factual allegations; the judgment,
however, must be supported by sufficient basis in the
the complaint states an adequate legal basis for relief
against a party in default, default judgment may be
appropriate. Mrs. Condies Salad Co. v. Colorado Blue
Ribbon Foods, LLC, 858 F.Supp.2d 1212, 1218 (D. Colo.
2012). The Court also accepts as undisputed any facts set
forth by the moving party in affidavits and exhibits.
Purzel Video GmbH v. Biby, 13 F.Supp.3d 1127, 1135
(D. Colo. 2014).
an action for alleged unpaid contributions under ERISA, 29
U.S.C. 1132(g)(2)(A), and pursuant to the CBA. Specifically,
in a single claim for relief, Plaintiffs' Complaint
against Defendant Denver Marble Company (“Denver
Marble”) seeks any unpaid contributions “as well
as any other contributions determined as due by audit,
timecards, or otherwise pursuant to ERISA”; liquidated
damages on all late-paid and unpaid contributions under the
CBA and ERISA; interest; attorneys' fees and costs,
including audit fees; injunctive relief; and the Court to
retain jurisdiction pending compliance with any court order.
(ECF No. 1, at 8-9.)
Marble was served with the Complaint but failed to timely
answer or otherwise respond. Upon Plaintiffs' motion, the
Clerk entered default against Defendant. (ECF Nos. 17, 18.)
Thereafter, Plaintiffs filed an initial motion for default
judgment (First Motion, ECF No. 23), which the Court denied
without prejudice. (Denial Order, ECF No. 24.)
out in the Denial Order, the Court is satisfied that it has
jurisdiction over the claims presented and Denver Marble
itself. (Id. at 3.) But problematically, the Court
was left without (A) a clear indication of the specific
source of recovery requested (ERISA or CBA) or sufficient
showing that Plaintiffs may recover, matched to the elements
of an ERISA claim; and (B) direction as to whether Plaintiffs
maintained their request for injunctive relief or that such
relief is available under the circumstances. (Id. at
3-4.) Having failed to receive guidance from Plaintiffs on
these issues, the Court declined to enter default judgment
and denied the First Motion without prejudice.
Court's jurisdiction has not changed. (See
Denial Order at 3.) Thus, the Court turns to whether-taking
the well-pleaded factual allegations as true-it may enter a
final default judgment at this juncture.
Denver Marble may be liable to Plaintiffs under ERISA because
of its failure to make ...