519 F.3d 1045 (9th Cir. 2008), 06-55812, Trustees of Southern California IBEW-NECA Pension Trust Fund v. Flores

Docket Nº:06-55812.
Citation:519 F.3d 1045
Party Name:TRUSTEES OF the SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA IBEW-NECA PENSION TRUST FUND, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Herman FLORES, d/b/a BHF Electrical Contractors, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:March 27, 2008
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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Page 1045

519 F.3d 1045 (9th Cir. 2008)

TRUSTEES OF the SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA IBEW-NECA PENSION TRUST FUND, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Herman FLORES, d/b/a BHF Electrical Contractors, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 06-55812.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

March 27, 2008

Argued and Submitted Feb. 5, 2008.

Page 1046

J. David Sackman, Reich, Adell, Crost & Cvitan, Los Angeles, CA, for the plaintiff-appellant.

Marla B. Hendrickson, Tustin, CA, for the defendant-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California; Florence Marie Cooper, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. CV-04-10011-FMC.

Before: Alfred T. Goodwin, Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, and William A. Fletcher, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

GOODWIN, Circuit Judge:

The Trustees of the Southern California IBEW-NECA Pension Trust Fund ("Trustees") appeal the district court's judgment against them in their action to collect delinquent trust fund contributions from employer Herman Flores. The Trustees contend that the district court erred by holding that the term "covered employees" in the relevant collective bargaining agreements is ambiguous and by considering extrinsic evidence of the parties' oral representations. We hold that the collective bargaining agreements require Flores to make benefit contributions for all electrical workers engaged in project work. For this reason, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.

BACKGROUND

In late August 2003, the Los Angeles Unified School District awarded a construction contract to general contractor DJM/Borbon for the Commonwealth Avenue and Hoover Elementary School Safety and Technology Upgrades Project. Flores, an individual doing business as BHF Electrical Contractors ("BHF"), worked as an electrical subcontractor on the project.

On October 1, 2003, Flores signed a Subscription Agreement with Local Union 11 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in which he agreed to make pension trust fund contributions on behalf of his employees. In addition to the Subscription Agreement, Flores' obligation to make trust fund contributions was regulated by a Project Stabilization Agreement ("PSA"), the Local Union 11 Inside Wiremen's Agreement ("IWA") and other trust agreements.

Flores began work on the project in October 2003. Sections 4.6 and 4.8 of the PSA obligated Flores to hire all project workers, excluding his core employees, from the union's referral system, unless the referral system did not fulfill Flores' request within...

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