Merit Constr. Alliance v. City of Quincy, No. 13-2189 (1st Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
The City of Quincy passed an ordinance demanding that bidders on municipal public works projects engage in a specific type of apprentice training program. Plaintiffs, a trade association of construction companies and two of its members, sued the City in federal district court asserting that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) preempted the ordinance’s apprentice training requirement. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs and granted Plaintiffs’ motion for attorney fees under ERISA’s fee-shifting provision. The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment but reversed the fee award, holding (1) the reach of ERISA’s preemption provision extends to the ordinance at issue; and (2) because there was no appropriate “participant, beneficiary, or fiduciary” to whom fees could lawfully be awarded in this case, the fee award must be set aside. Remanded.