Int'l Union v. Ray Haluch Gravel Co., No. 11-1944 (1st Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Defendant entered into a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with a Union under which Defendant remitted contributions to an array of Union-affiliated benefit funds (the Funds). After the Funds commissioned audits of Defendant's books, the Funds demanded additional remittances for previously unreported work allegedly covered by the CBA. Defendant demurred, and the Funds sued Defendant. The district court awarded Plaintiffs $26,897 referable to covered work performed by a specific employee but denied recovery for other work. In a separate judgment, the court awarded Plaintiffs $34,688 in attorneys' fees. The First Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the judgment of the district court, holding (1) the appeal was timely as to all issues, and the judgment on the benefits-remittance claim and the judgment awarding attorneys' fees were open to appellate review; (2) Defendant's failure to keep appropriate records concerning work covered by the benefit-remittance provisions of the CBA triggered a burden-shifting paradigm under which Defendant had to show which hours represented covered work and which did not, and here Defendant did not rebut the presumption; and (3) because the district court's fee calculation rested appreciably on Plaintiffs' lack of success in recovering remittances referable to unidentified employees, the fee award required recalculation.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on March 11, 2014.