further action to assess withdrawal liability against TIME-DC would be taken at that time.
On June 27, 1984, another Trustees' meeting was held, and TIME-DC's status was again considered. According to the materials prepared by Fund Director Skolnick for the meeting, the Trustees were to consider two questions regarding TIME-DC: (1) Was TIME-DC subject to withdrawal liability? and (2) If so, when? The materials also stated that the one mechanic working in the Los Angeles facility was terminated in February 1984.
Fund Director Skolnick's notes of the June 1984 Trustees meeting suggest that the Fund regarded TIME-DC as having incurred withdrawal liability as of February 2, 1983 in light of a perceived impasse between the Union and the company. Trustee Eugene Glover testified, however, that the Trustees agreed to assess withdrawal liability against TIME because there was no collective bargaining agreement between TIME and the Union, and the Union no longer represented TIME's employees or otherwise had a relationship with the company. Glover also doubted that the Trustees found February 1983 to be the date TIME incurred this liability, but could not state what date he believed was established.
In any event, on September 14, 1984 the Fund formally renewed its withdrawal liability demand against TIME-DC by letter, asserting that the Company incurred withdrawal liability as of March and April 1982 by having ceased participation in the Plan, thereby reactivating the demand of $449,955.00 that the Fund had held in abeyance since November 7, 1983. The September 14, 1984 letter demanded the first quarterly payment of $54,749 by September 29, 1984. That deadline was subsequently extended to October 6, 1984. On October 2, 1984 the plaintiff instituted this action.
This case constitutes the third time that TIME-DC has sought a preliminary injunction against a multiemployer pension plan as the result of an assessment of withdrawal liability. Both of the previous cases involved TIME's efforts to obtain such an injunction against Teamster pension plans. In T.I.M.E.-DC, Inc. v. Trucking Employees of North Jersey Welfare Fund, (the " North Jersey Fund " case), 560 F. Supp. 294 (E.D.N.Y. 1983), the court found that the defendant pension fund had improperly assessed withdrawal liability against TIME based on the representation of a local Teamster union official that TIME-DC had ceased operations at its Brooklyn terminal. Id. at 303. The court held in North Jersey Fund that the Fund had an obligation to undertake an independent investigation of the facts before assessing withdrawal liability in order to determine whether TIME fit within the labor disputes exception. Id. The court also found in North Jersey Fund that the labor dispute between TIME and the Teamsters continued, despite the fact that the Teamsters had returned to work, because there was still no new contract between the parties resolving the labor controversy. Id.
Likewise, in T.I.M.E.-DC, Inc. v. New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund (the " New York Fund " case), 580 F. Supp. 621 (N.D.N.Y. 1984), the court also held that the pension fund had improperly assessed withdrawal liability in light of the labor disputes exception. Id. at 630-31. In doing so, the Court rejected defendant's contention that the labor disputes exception was no longer applicable because TIME and the Teamsters had reached an impasse in negotiations. Id. at 629. Instead, the court held in New York Fund that even if TIME and the Teamsters had reached an impasse, that did not signal the end of the labor dispute, but was merely another stage in the dispute. Id.
Although the North Jersey Fund and New York Fund cases are instructive in construing the labor disputes exception to withdrawal liability, because the present case involves TIME's relationships with the Machinists rather than the Teamsters, this Court must independently examine the facts and circumstances to determine whether a preliminary injunction should issue.
Four factors must be weighed by this Court in considering a motion for preliminary injunction:
1) Has the petitioner made a strong showing that it is likely to prevail on the merits of its appeal? . . .
2) Has petitioner shown that without such relief it will be irreparably injured? . . .