United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. GOODWIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the court is the defendants' Motion to Dismiss
Complaint [ECF No. 4]. For the reasons that follow, the
Motion is GRANTED.
Complaint in this matter filed by Nitro Construction
Services, Inc. (“Nitro”) states that
“[t]his action stems from the initiation of a Complaint
for Monies Due filed in this Court on June 28, 2018, by three
local unions-Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 625, 565, and
83 and the West Virginia Pipe Trade Health and Welfare Fund
(the ‘Fund') against Nitro.” Compl. [ECF No.
1] 1. The Complaint filed on June 28, 2018 in this court (the
“First Action”) involves a multiemployer health
and welfare fund established and maintained under the
Employee Retirement Income Security Act
(“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001, et
seq. The Fund was established to provide
funding for health and welfare benefits for eligible
employees of employers who have entered into collective
bargaining agreements or participation agreements with the
local unions. By entering into such agreements, participating
employers agree to make periodic contributions to the Fund
with respect to workers of the local unions who work for the
plaintiff in this action and the defendant in the First
Action-is a participating employer in the Fund and submits
contributions to the Fund with respect to workers of the
local unions who perform work for it. The Fund is
administered by a board of trustees, currently comprised of
the defendants in this action: Edward D'Aquila, Gary
Yarnell, Michael Rhodes, Don Wagenheim, Steve Ellis, and
Michael Romine (“Trustees”).
plaintiffs in the First Action allege that Nitro was late in
making certain contributions by the contractually mandated
due date. Although the principal amounts have been paid, the
plaintiffs in the First Action seek to recover liquidated
damages and interest in the amount of $81, 326.05, in
addition to attorneys' fees and costs.
Nitro filed a Third-Party Complaint against the Trustees in
the First Action on August 30, 2018. This court struck the
Third-Party Complaint in its entirety on November 16, 2018
for its failure to comply with Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 14. On December 12, 2018, Nitro filed this action
against the Trustees, asserting identical claims against the
Trustees as were set forth in its Third-Party Complaint.
Nitro's Complaint in this action contains five counts:
Count One alleges a breach of fiduciary duties under ERISA
§ 502(a)(3); Count Two seeks a declaratory judgment
against the Trustees pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2201; Count
Three alleges, in the alternative, a breach of contract under
federal common law; Count Four alleges, in the alternative, a
breach of fiduciary duty under federal common law; and Count
Five alleges equitable estoppel.
January 17, 2019, the Trustees filed a Motion to Dismiss this
action [ECF No. 4] pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), contending that Nitro's Complaint
fails to state any claim upon which relief may be granted.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). When ruling
on a motion to dismiss, courts must accept as true all of the
factual allegations contained in the complaint and draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. E.I. du
Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Kolon Indus., Inc., 637
F.3d 435, 440 (4th Cir. 2011).
survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff's factual
allegations, taken as true, must “state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Robertson v.
Sea Pines Real Estate Co., 679 F.3d 278, 288 (4th Cir.
2012) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009)). The plausibility standard is not a probability
requirement, but “asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)). Although it is
true that “the complaint must contain sufficient facts
to state a claim that is plausible on its face, it
nevertheless need only give the defendant fair notice of what
the claim is and the grounds on which it rests.”
Hall v. DIRECTV, LLC, 846 F.3d 757, 777 (4th Cir.
2017) (citing Wright v. North Carolina, 787 F.3d
256, 263 (4th Cir. 2015)).