The opinion of the court was delivered by: HOGAN
T.I.M.E.-D C, Inc. filed the complaint in this action against the defendant I.A.M. National Pension Fund (the "Machinists' Fund"/the "Fund"), as the result of the defendant's September 14, 1984 assessment of "withdrawal liability" against the plaintiff under the terms of the Multiemployer Pension Plans Amendment Act of 1980 (the "Multiemployer Act"/the "MPPAA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1002(37)(A); 1301(a)(3)(1983). Specifically, the complaint as originally framed, sought a declaration that T.I.M.E.-D C, Inc. ("TIME-DC""TIME") is involved in an on-going labor dispute with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (the "Machinists"/the "Union"), excepting TIME from withdrawal liability under the "labor disputes" provision of the Multiemployer Act, 29 U.S.C. § 1383(a). The complaint also sought an injunction enjoining the Fund from prosecuting, enforcing, or collecting any claim for withdrawal liability against TIME.
The defendant Machinists Fund counterclaimed for declaratory relief, seeking a declaration that its claim for withdrawal liability was not barred by the MPPAA labor disputes exception on the basis that there was no on-going labor dispute between TIME and the Union, as well as a declaration that TIME could initially challenge the withdrawal assessment only through the MPPAA's arbitration procedures.
By Memorandum Opinion and Order of November 6, 1984, 597 F. Supp. 256, this Court granted plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction insofar as enjoining the defendant from pursuing its September 14, 1984 claim of withdrawal liability against TIME-DC. In doing so, the Court held that the September 14, 1984 claim, assessing withdrawal liability as of March and April, 1982, was improper given the clear existence of a labor dispute between TIME and the Union during March and April of 1982. However, the Court reached no determination as to whether the labor dispute is on-going, but instead indicated only that the Fund, in assessing withdrawal liability against TIME, had not to date properly investigated the status of the labor dispute.
On January 16, 1985 a consent permanent injunction was entered with respect to the Fund's September 14, 1984 claim, embodying the same terms as the preliminary injunction. Presently before the Court are several motions, filed both prior to and after entry of the consent permanent injunction, raising questions as to what remains of this action in light of the permanent injunction.
First, prior to entry of the consent permanent injunction plaintiff filed a motion to amend the complaint. Unlike the original complaint, which simply set forth the claims for declaratory and injunctive relief without enumeration of counts, the amended complaint seeks to designate plaintiff's claims for injunctive and declaratory relief as to defendant's September 14, 1984 assessment of withdrawal liability "Count One," while designating as "Count Two" plaintiff's claims for declaratory and injunctive relief based on the allegation of a presently continuing labor dispute between itself and the Union. Although the proposed amended complaint more clearly delineates plaintiff's claims, and is in conformity with this Court's perception of the pertinent issues of this case as identified in the treatment of plaintiff's preliminary injunction motion, the amended complaint merely restructures the allegations of the original complaint without adding any new claims or issues. Accordingly, formal amendment of the complaint is not warranted.
Likewise, prior to the entry of the consent permanent injunction plaintiff sought partial summary judgment with respect to defendant's September 14, 1984 assessment of withdrawal liability. With the filing of the consent permanent injunction plaintiff instead requested that its summary judgment motion be treated as a motion for entry of judgment in its favor pursuant to Rule 58 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The permanent injunction consented to by the parties has already been approved by the Court and incorporated in its order of January 16, 1985, and therefore is an order which the Court retains jurisdiction to enforce. No further action by this Court with respect to the September 14, 1984 withdrawal liability claim is necessitated.
Defendant has also filed a motion with this Court to dismiss its counterclaim. Plaintiff opposes that motion unless the dismissal is with prejudice, precluding the Fund from later asserting that the labor dispute between TIME and the Machinists ended prior to October 25, 1984, the date of the filing of the counterclaim. In seeking dismissal with prejudice plaintiff merely argues that dismissal without prejudice would solve nothing at this point of the litigation. Defendant indicates on the other hand, that while it does not desire at this time to contest plaintiff's assertion that there is an on-going labor dispute, it does not wish to concede that point either, but instead wishes to reserve its right at some future time to assert, based on evidence that it may obtain in the future, that the labor dispute ended, and perhaps ended prior to October 25, 1984. This Court must agree that defendant's assertion that it does not at this time contest the plaintiff's position that a labor dispute is presently on-going should not be held against it as a binding concession. The defendant's representation that it wishes only to re-evaluate any evidence of the situation that should come into its possession is precisely what this Court in ruling on the preliminary injunction motion indicated was the Fund's proper role under the MPPAA. Accordingly, this Court does not find any compelling reasons why dismissal of defendant's counterclaim without prejudice should not be permitted.
Given the entry of a consent permanent injunction as to the defendant's September 14, 1985 withdrawal liability assessment and the dismissal of defendant's counterclaim, this Court finds that plaintiff's complaint does not present any further case or controversy appropriate for review by this Court. Plaintiff's claim for a declaration that the labor dispute between itself and the Machinists is still on-going, as well as the claim for an injunction precluding the defendant from seeking to enforce or collect any claim of withdrawal liability ...