Judge Jesse Furman

Labor union IATSE represents theatrical stage employees and motion picture technicians in the United States and Canada. Under collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) with IATSE Local 534, Backstage Lighting and Rigging was required to contribute to IATSE’s Annuity and Health Funds, “employee benefit plans” under ERISA §3(3) set up under Labor Management Relations Act §302(c)(5). From Jan. 2006, through 2012′s first quarter, Backstage employed Local 534 members but did not pay required fringe benefit contributions. Pursuant to Champion v. Artuz, the court granted the IATSE funds’ trustees’ unopposed motion for summary judgment that Backstage violated ERISA §515 and owed $88,612 in delinquent contributions to IATSE’s Health Fund and $91,824 in delinquent contributions to IATSE’s Annuity Fund. The general denial within Backstage’s answer to the trustees’ amended complaint—unsupported by details or evidence—could not defeat their summary judgment motion. The court also deemed the trustees entitled to an award of interest on the unpaid contributions, liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees and costs pursuant to 29 USC §1132(g)(2).