St. Louis Record

Monday, July 22, 2019

Judge grants roofing company's partial motion to dismiss claims in pension plan


By Rich Peters | May 1, 2019

ST. LOUIS – The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri recently granted a partial motion to dismiss in a dispute between a roofing company and a union pension plan.

In a March 25 memorandum and order, U.S. District Judge Jean C. Hamilton tossed three counts of pension mismanagement in the National Roofing Industry Pension Plan lawsuit against Taylor Roofing Solutions Inc.

Plaintiffs filed their original complaint Oct. 30 in an effort to collect fringe benefit contributions allegedly due consistent with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947. The plaintiffs are seeking to confirm an arbitration award and enforce the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) pursuant to the Missouri Uniform Arbitration Act.

“Plaintiffs allege that although the CBA required Taylor Roofing Solutions to, among other things, make monthly contributions to the pension plan, education plan, supplemental pension plan, welfare fund and apprentice fund and make monthly written reports to plaintiffs, Taylor Roofing Solutions has failed to make the required contributions, submit the required reports or submit to a payroll audit,” court filings said.

Taylor Roofing Solutions filed a motion to dismiss Count 1 of the lawsuit which sought to hold Gerrit Yank, as sole owner of Taylor Roofing Solutions, personally liable for any and all obligations incurred by Taylor Roofing Solutions. 

The plaintiffs claimed Taylor Roofing Solutions was administratively dissolved in Missouri and in Illinois last year but Yank continued to operate and carry on business, court filings noted.

In the ruling denying the motion, Hamilton said, "Missouri and Illinois law provide that under certain circumstances, individuals who continue to conduct business on behalf of a dissolved corporation may be held personally liable for obligations incurred." 

In the second count of their lawsuit, plaintiffs sought to hold defendants Capitol Roofing Solutions and Beltran Contractors liable for damages, claiming they “either have operated as a single enterprise and single employer with Taylor Roofing Solutions, and/or each is the alter ego of the other.”

“Upon consideration, the court agrees that in Count II, plaintiffs seek to assert two distinct theories under the same count,” court filings said. “The court thus will grant defendants’ motion for a more definite statement with respect to Count II, and order plaintiffs to replead the theories in separate counts.”

Counts III and IV of the lawsuit were brought forward by Roofers Union Local 2, “claiming that the CBA between itself and Taylor Roofing Solutions required the submission of any disputes arising between the parties to the Roofers Local 2 Joint Adjustment Board (‘Joint Adjustment Board’).”

The court considered the arguments of Counts III and IV and found that the stay of each count was not warranted.

The plaintiffs were granted until April 5 to file a second amended complaint.

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