ST. LOUIS — A U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of Missouri has found an Illinois construction company to be in contempt of court for failing to provide documents needed for an audit in a lawsuit seeking to collect delinquent fringe benefit contributions.
In a June 12 ruling, Judge Audrey Fleissig also fined Zoie LLC of East St. Louis, doing business as Dana Howard Construction, $200 per day for every day that it fails to submit its records for inspection or otherwise comply with court orders.
Greater St. Louis Construction Laborers Welfare Fund filed the collection action against the business earlier this year. On Feb. 22, the court entered a default judgment for the plaintiff, and a month later it granted its motion to compel the audit to determine the amount of Zoie's liability, the ruling states.
On May 1, the court gave the defendant an opportunity to show cause by May 31 why it should not be held in civil contempt and why sanctions should not be imposed for failure to comply with the earlier order compelling an audit.
"Despite proper notice and personal service upon Defendant’s agent authorized to receive service of process, Defendant has not responded to Plaintiffs’ motion or to the Court’s Order to Show Cause," the order states.
Fleissig wrote that plaintiffs had proven "by clear and convincing evidence" that Zoie has failed to comply with its orders.
"Therefore, the Court finds Defendant in contempt and will award sanctions against Defendant in the form of a compliance fine and attorney’s fees and costs for the filing of the motion for contempt," she wrote.
In addition to the $200-per-day fine, Fleissig granted Greater St. Louis Construction Laborers Welfare Fund's request for attorney's fees and costs in relation to the motion for contempt.
Fleissig also is requiring the plaintiff to file a motion and memorandum in support identifying the name of Zoie's officer and the address at which he or she may be served, and the plaintiff must provide proof that the officer is the business's principal officer with responsibility to comply with the court's orders and has personally received notice of the orders.