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New Orleans Employers International Longshoremens Asso., AFL-CIO Pension Fund v. Maritime Security, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

January 25, 2019

NEW ORLEANS EMPLOYERS INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMEN'S ASSOC., AFL-CIO PENSION FUND, AND ITS ADMINISTRATOR, THOMAS R. DANIEL
v.
MARITIME SECURITY, INC. & ADVANCE MARINE SERVICES, INC.

         SECTION: "A" (4)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          JAY C. ZAINEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The following motions are before the Court: Motion for Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 32) filed by Plaintiffs, New Orleans Employers International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO Pension Fund, and its administrator, Thomas R. Daniel; Motion for Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 33) filed by defendants, Maritime Security, Inc. and Advance Marine Services, Inc. The motions, submitted for consideration on January 9, 2019, and January 23, 2019, are before the Court on the briefs without oral argument.

         This is an action to recover withdrawal liability pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”). The plaintiff association is a multiemployer pension plan under ERISA, established and maintained for the purpose of providing retirement and related benefits to eligible participants and beneficiaries. Plaintiff, Thomas R. Daniel, is the plan's administrator.

         On October 25, 2018, at the parties' request, the Court cancelled the pretrial conference and trial so that the parties could file cross motions for summary judgment. (Rec. Doc. 27). The parties agree that there are no disputed issues of material fact to preclude summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's motion is GRANTED, and Defendants' motion is DENIED.

         I. Background

         The parties have stipulated to the following facts:

         Since in or about 1990, defendant Advance Marine Services, Inc. (“AMS”) provided stevedoring services to the cruise line industry at the Port of New Orleans. AMS employed longshoremen and cleaning crews, and defendant Maritime Security, Inc. (“MSI”) employed the porters or “seacaps” who assisted cruise passengers with boarding and the handling of their luggage.

         Defendants MSI and AMS (at times referred to collectively as “Controlled Group”) are a “controlled group” pursuant to § 402(b)(1) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1301(b)(1).

         In or about 2003, AMS and MSI employees (except for cleaning crews) elected to be represented by the General Longshore Works Local Union No. 3000 and New Orleans Clerks' and Checkers' Local Union No. 1497 (the “Union”). On or about October 1, 2009, Controlled Group and the Union entered into a collective bargaining agreement effective October 1, 2004, as extended thereafter.[1]

         The collective bargaining agreement and associated Trust agreement provide that the New Orleans Employers International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO Pension Fund (“Fund”) collects contributions on behalf of the covered Union employees.

         Since prior to unionization, AMS and MSI worked exclusively for Carnival Cruise Lines (“Carnival”). Carnival required that AMS and MSI employ Union employees.

         In or about December 2015, Carnival terminated its agreement with the Controlled Group, and Controlled Group ceased providing services to Carnival on or about December 7, 2015. Since termination, Defendants have ...


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