avoid an award of attorneys fees in this case under Hummell, argues only that it did not act in bad faith in assessing withdrawal liability against TIME, and that this case did not resolve issues of broad legal significance.
It is not necessary to find that the Fund acted in bad faith to award attorneys fees under Hummell. Instead, while the existence of bad faith may be a compelling factor, requiring bad faith under § 1451(e), or any other statutory provision for attorneys fees, would render the statute virtually meaningless since "if the objective of Congress had been to permit the award of attorneys fees only against defendants who had acted in bad faith 'no new statutory provision would have been necessary' since even the American common law rule allows the award of attorneys fees in those exceptional circumstances." Christiansburg Garment Co. v. EEOC, 434 U.S. 412, 417, 54 L. Ed. 2d 648, 98 S. Ct. 694 (1978); see also Smith v. CMTA-IAM Pension Trust, 654 F.2d 650 (9th Cir. 1984).
This Court's ruling on the preliminary injunction, which served as the basis for the consent permanent injunction, found that the defendant "completely failed to give proper consideration to the labor disputes exception to withdrawal liability" adopting "the paradoxical argument that a labor dispute in fact existed, but that the labor disputes exception . . . is nevertheless wholly inapplicable to the case hand." Memorandum Opinion, at 262 (November 6, 1984). The Court further noted that the record contained various inconsistent explanations for the defendant's conduct, id. at 10-11, but that none of the explanations overcame the lack of any evidence considered by the Fund indicating that the labor dispute had ended or that the Machinists had "walked away from the shop," abandoning the labor dispute. Id. at 17.
Regardless of the presence or absence of bad faith, therefore, this Court finds that the Fund's actions with respect to the September 14, 1984 assessment of withdrawal liability were both inconsistent and irrational, and that the failure to exercise its powers under the MPPAA responsibly, especially in light of the irreparable injury that the exercise of those powers may have, constitutes culpable conduct under Hummell warranting an award of attorneys fees to the plaintiff.
Likewise, regardless of the significance of the issues raised by this case, this Court finds that an award of attorneys fees to the plaintiff here may serve a deterrent effect, impressing upon this defendant and other pension funds the importance of responsibly exercising the statutory powers endowed upon them, especially in light of the impact that the exercise of those powers may have on their target.
The parties shall have 30 days in which to reach an agreement as to a reasonable sum of attorneys fees, after which time, in the absence of agreement, the plaintiff may file an appropriately documented petition for a judicial determination of the award.
An order consistent with the rulings herein accompanies this opinion.
For the reasons set forth in this Court's Memorandum Opinion, it is this 6th day of August, 1985
1) Plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint is denied;
2) Plaintiff's motion for entry of judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 58 is denied;
3) Defendant's motion to dismiss its counterclaim is granted; defendant's counterclaim is hereby denied without prejudice; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that all of plaintiff's claims not encompassed by the January 16, 1985 consent permanent injunction are hereby dismissed for lack of jurisdiction; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that on or before the expiration of 30 days from the date of this order plaintiff shall file an appropriate petition for attorneys fees with this Court, or otherwise indicate to the Court that the issue of fees has been resolved between the parties.