United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
STUART APPELBAUM, et al. Plaintiffs,
DIAMOND RUBBER PRODUCTS CO., Defendant.
OWEN BOWDRE, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Plaintiffs, trustees and fiduciaries of the Retail, Wholesale
and Department Store International Union and Industry Pension
Fund, sued Defendant Diamond Rubber Products Company,
alleging that it failed to make contributions to the fund
required by the collective bargaining agreement. Both parties
have moved for summary judgment. (Docs. 35, 37). For the
reasons discussed in this opinion, the court will deny both
Rubber manufactures and sells rubber products, such as
chocks, gaskets, seals, and bumpers. Since 2004, Diamond has
signed a series of collective bargaining agreements with the
Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store International Union.
The CBAs recognized the Union “as the sole and
exclusive bargaining agency for all production, plant
maintenance, building maintenance and shipping personnel,
including truck drivers of the company at its present plant
and at any and all future or new plants and operations of the
company located in the State of Alabama.” The
agreements excluded “watchmen, clerical or office
employees, superintendents, foremen, temporary employees or
supervisors as defined in the [National Labor Relations]
2015, Article XXII of the CBAs required Diamond to contribute
a set amount “per member” to the
Union's pension fund “on behalf of said employee
who has completed one (1) year of service with the
company.” Diamond withdrew from the pension plan
effective September 18, 2015.
Fund is governed by an Agreement and Declaration of Trust and
its amendments. From January 2005 to September 2015, Diamond
would provide a monthly report of bargaining unit employees
for whom it was making a pension contribution and would also
report the names of employees who were not covered by the CBA
but for whom the company made a pension contribution.
September 2014, six employees were participating in the
Pension Fund. Three were not Union members. Diamond's
position is that “per member” means per
union member and that the CBA required the
company to make contributions for union members and
permitted it to make contributions for other
employees who asked to participate in the Fund. In contrast,
the Trustees argue that the CBA required the company
to make contributions for all employees covered by the CBA,
regardless of their union status, and permitted the
company to make contributions for other employees who could
not join the union.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
district court reviews a motion for summary judgment, it must
determine two things: whether any genuine issues of material
fact exist, and whether the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56.
court must “view the evidence presented through the
prism of the substantive evidentiary burden” to
determine whether the non-moving party presented sufficient
evidence on which a jury could reasonably find for the
nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). The court must not weigh the
evidence and make credibility determinations because these
decisions belong to a jury. See Id. at 254.
all evidence and inferences drawn from the underlying facts
must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party. See Graham v. State Farm Mut. Ins. Co., 193
F.3d 1274, 1282 (11th Cir. 1999). After both parties have
addressed the motion for summary judgment, the court must
grant the motion only if no genuine issues of
material fact exist and if the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56.
applicable Rule 56 standard is not affected by the filing of
cross motions for summary judgment. See, e.g., United
States v. Oakley, 744 F.2d 1553, at 1555-56 (11th Cir.
1984). When parties file cross motions for summary judgment,
“each side must still establish the lack of genuine
issues of material fact and that it is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law.” Busby v. JRHBW Realty,
Inc., 642 F.Supp.2d 1283, 1288 (N.D. Ala. 2009).
“The fact that both parties simultaneously are arguing
that there is no genuine issue of fact . . . does not
establish that a trial is unnecessary thereby empowering the
court to enter judgment as it sees fit.” Id.
(internal quotation marks omitted). The Eleventh Circuit has
noted that “[c]ross motions for summary judgment will
not, in themselves, warrant the court in granting summary
judgment unless one of the parties is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law on facts that are not genuinely
disputed.” Oakley, 744 F.2d at 1555.
question presented is who is a “member” under the
pension plan provision of the CBA that requires Diamond to
make contributions “per member” to the plan.
Diamond argues that “member” means union member,
while the Plan Trustees contend that “member”
means member of the pension plan. Whether Diamond is ...