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Mangino v. Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

December 7, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nora Barry Fischer United States District Judge

Judge Nora Barry Fischer


I. Introduction

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Turnpike, Soft Drink, Beer Distributor and Miscellaneous Employees, Teamsters Local Union No. 250, International Brotherhood of Teamsters' ("Local 250") Motion to Dissolve the Permanent Injunction, filed on September 23, 2009. (Docket No. 132). By this motion, Local 250 seeks to have the Court enter an order dissolving the permanent injunction contained in the parties' settlement agreement and the Consent Judgment entered on June 16, 2009, which currently prevents the withholding of fair share fees from Plaintiffs. (See Docket No. 127 at 1). For the reasons discussed herein, Local 250's Motion to Dissolve the Permanent Injunction is DENIED, without prejudice.

II. Procedural History

After numerous attempts to settle this matter, the parties executed a settlement agreement and a Consent Judgment on June 2, 2009. (See Docket No. 123). On June 16, 2009, the Court entered the Consent Judgment (Docket No. 127), entering judgment in favor of Plaintiffs and against all Defendants to the extent indicated in accordance with this Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order of September 25, 2008 granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment on liability.*fn1 (Docket Nos. 127, 66, and 67, respectively). The terms of the parties' settlement agreement were incorporated into the Consent Judgment, but the settlement agreement was not filed of record. The case was then closed.

Local 250 filed the instant motion on September 23, 2009. (Docket No. 132). Plaintiffs filed their Brief in Opposition on October 5, 2009. (Docket No. 133). Defendant Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission did not join or file any opposition to the motion. On October 8, 2009, the Court set this matter down for a hearing on the motion for November 23, 2009.*fn2 (Text Entry, 10/8/09). The hearing was held on November 23, 2009, during which Court heard oral argument.*fn3 (Docket No. 137). At the close of the hearing, Plaintiffs' counsel requested leave until November 30, 2009 by which to submit further authority in opposition to Local 250's motion, which the Court granted. (Id.). On November 24, 2009, Local 250 filed an affidavit by Gary Pedicone, Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer of Local 250, in support of its motion.

(Docket No. 138). Plaintiffs submitted their supplemental authority on November 30, 2009.*fn4 As briefing has concluded on the motion, it is now ripe for disposition.

III. Standard for Dissolution of a Permanent Injunction

Rule 60 provides an escape from an unfavorable judgment that "has been satisfied, released, or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated, or [if] applying it prospectively is no longer equitable." FED. R. CIV. P. 60(b). Relief under this rule is "an extraordinary remedy and may only be invoked upon a showing of exceptional circumstances." In re Fine Paper Anitrust Litig., 840 F.2d 188, 194 (3d Cir. 1988)(quoting Vecchione v. Wohlgemuth, 558 F.2d 150, 159 (3d Cir. 1977)).

Rule 60(b)(5) authorizes relief from judgments such as injunctions which are prospective in operation. Marshall v. Board of Educ., Bergenfield, 575 F.2d 417, 425 (3d Cir. 1978). Even though a consent decree is a judicial act, "it has many of the attributes of a contract voluntarily undertaken, United States v. ITT Continental Baking Co., 420 U.S. 223, 236-37 (1975); United States Steel Corp. v. Fraternal Ass'n of Steel Haulers, 601 F.2d 1269, 1274 (3d Cir. 1979), and a party to a consent decree, having made a 'free, calculated and deliberate choice to submit to an agreed upon decree rather than seek a more favorable litigated judgment,' bears a burden which 'is perhaps even more formidable than had they litigated and lost.'" United States v. Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp., 818 F.3d 1077, 1088 (3d Cir. 1987); see also Coltec Indus. v. Hobgood, 184 F.R.D. 60, 61-62 (W.D. Pa. 1999). Before the modification of a consent injunction may be granted, the moving party must satisfy the heavy burden of showing circumstances so changed that "the danger which the decree sought to prevent has been 'attenuated to a shadow.'" Int'l. Bhd. of Teamsters, et al. v. Western Pa. Motor Carriers Assoc., 660 F.2d 76, 85 (3d Cir. 1981)(citations omitted); Mayberry v. Maroney, 558 F.2d 1159, 1163 (3d Cir. 1977).

IV. Parties' Arguments

Local 250 contends that it has fully complied with the notice requirements of Teachers Local No. 1 v. Hudson, 475 U.S. 292, 306-10 (1986), and Lenhart v. Ferris Faculty Ass'n., 500 U.S. 507 (1991). (Docket No. 132). It filed as an attachment to its motion its revised policies, its latest audited report, as well as the audited reports of its affiliates, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters ("IBT"), the Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters ("PCT"), and Teamsters Joint Council 40 ("JC"). (Docket No. 132 at 2; Docket No. 132-3 - 132-9). Based on these revised polices and financial disclosures, Local 250 argues it is in compliance.

In response, Plaintiffs maintain that Local 250 has not met its burden of proving complete compliance with Hudson and Lehnert in order to modify the injunction. (Docket No. 133 at 3). Plaintiffs contend that the union's policies and accounting ...

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