United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
UA PLUMBERS 63 & STEAMFITTERS 353 JOINT PENSION TRUST FUND, EAST CENTRAL ILLINOIS PIPE TRADES HEALTH & WELFARE FUND, PLUMBERS 63 EDUCATIONAL TRUST FUND, PLUMBERS LOCAL 63 ANNUITY BENEFIT PLAN, MID-ILLINI MECHANICAL CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION INDUSTRY FUND, WEST CENTRAL BUILDING TRADES COUNCIL CHECK OFF, POLITICAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE FUND, TRI-COUNTY CONSTRUCTION LABOR-MANAGEMENT COUNCIL, PIPE TRADES DISTRICT COUNCIL #34, AND UNITED ASSOCIATION OF JOURNEYMEN AND APPRENTICES OF THE PLUMBING INDUSTRY OF THE UNITED STATES AND CANADALOCAL #63 Plaintiffs,
WIEGAND PLUMBING, INC., Defendant.
DARROW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the parties’ Amended Joint Motion for
Entry of a Consent Decree, ECF No. 13. The parties have
stipulated to dismissal of their case pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(ii), and request that the
Court retain jurisdiction over this matter for the purpose of
enforcing a consent decree containing the terms of their
settlement. For the reasons below, the motion for entry of
the consent decree is GRANTED, and the case is DISMISSED
WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The Court has adopted the parties’
proposed consent decree below.
UA Plumbers 63 & Steamfitters 353 Joint Pension Trust
Fund, et al. (“UA Plumbers”) filed suit against
Defendant Wiegand Plumbing (“Wiegand”) for
delinquent contributions to employee benefit funds and other
monies owed pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. §1001 et seq.
(“ERISA”) and the Labor Management Relations Act
of 1947, 29 U.S.C. §141 et seq. (“LMRA”).
See Complaint 7, ECF No. 1. Shortly after filing the
complaint, the parties reported that they were working toward
resolution of the claim, pending calculation of the amounts
owed by Wiegand, and that Wiegand had begun to make payments.
Status Report, June 24, 2015, ECF No. 4. The parties
submitted a proposed consent decree, Joint Mot. Entry Consent
Decree, Dec. 15. 2015, ECF No. 11, but the Court took issue
with certain provisions of that initial proposal for the
reasons described in its September 20, 2016 Order, ECF No.
12. The Court requested, and the parties provided, an amended
proposed consent decree, ECF No. 13-1, which the Court
Legal Standard for Entry of Consent Decree and Retention of
consent decree is “a court order that embodies the
terms agreed upon by the parties as a compromise to
litigation.” U.S. v. Alshabkhoun, 277 F.3d
930, 934 (7th Cir. 2002) (citing U.S. v. Witco
Corp., 76 F. Supp. 2d 519, 525 (D. Del. 1999)). Parties
who enter into a settlement agreement may request that the
court enter a consent decree-binding the parties pursuant to
the requirements enunciated by Rule 65(d)-and dismiss the
case without prejudice pursuant to Rule 41(a). See
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S.
375, 377–82 (1994); Blue Cross & Blue Shield
Ass’n v. Am. Express Co., 467 F.3d 634, 636 (7th
Cir. 2006). This procedure is necessary because federal
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and cannot simply
“retain jurisdiction” by a mere statement that
they intend to enforce a settlement agreement. See Blue
Cross, 467 F.3d at 636 (holding that district court’s
order that it “retained jurisdiction” to enforce
settlement agreement was ineffectual after a dismissal of the
underlying claim because the order intended to bind the
parties and thus was an injunction, but did not comply with
Rule 65(d), “compliance with which would have made the
continuance of federal jurisdiction clear[.]”). It is
clear in the Seventh Circuit that one reliable source of a
district court’s power to retain jurisdiction over a
case after the original case or controversy has been resolved
in a dismissal or judgment is compliance with rule 65(d);
doing so permits the Court to act to enforce the settlement
pursuant to its original source of jurisdiction. See
Id. at 638(“Indeed, if the settlement had been
entered as a consent decree, as it should have been, the
original federal-question jurisdiction would have
sufficed.”); Kokonnen, 467 F.3d . at 377
(“Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.
They possess only that power authorized by Constitution and
statute . . . which is not to be expanded by judicial
decree[.] (citations omitted)).
utilizing this option, the parties’ proposed consent
decree must comply with the requirements for an injunction
laid out in the Federal Rules. That is, the proposed order
must: “(a) state the reasons why it [should be] issued;
(b) state its terms specifically; and (c) describe in
reasonable detail-and not by referring to the complaint or
other document-the act or acts restrained or required.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d). Once the decree is entered, the case
may be dismissed by the parties pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1).
See Kokonnen, 511 U.S. at 381–82. Because the terms of
the settlement have been drafted into a court order, the
court may then enforce the settlement by way of contempt
proceedings (or whatever else the decree authorizes the court
to do in light of a breach).
previous order, the Court noted problems with the proposed
decree that resulted in non-compliance with Rule 65(d). Order
4–5, September 20, 2016. These problems have been
addressed in the amended proposal. A “sufficiently
precise and self-contained” injunction will comply with
Rule 65(d). Dexia Credit Local v. Rogan, 602 F.3d
879, 884 (7th Cir. 2010) (citing PMC, Inc. v.
Sherwin-Williams Co., 151 F.3d 610, 619 (7th Cir. 1998)
(holding that 65(d) compliance requires of an injunction that
“a person subject to it who reads it and nothing else
has a sufficiently clear and exact knowledge of the duties it
imposes on him that if he violates it he can be adjudged
guilty of criminal contempt.”)). The injunction at
issue in this case requires a set number of twenty-four
discrete payments, made monthly and totaling $72,000; the
parties have spelled out the manner in which payments are to
be made, and have specified that “fail[ure] to make any
payment” constitutes a breach of the agreement which
may result in contempt proceedings or entry of judgment for
the then-remaining amount owed. Am. Proposed Consent Decree
2–3, ECF No. 13-1. Additionally, the parties have
stricken the language the Court identified in its previous
order as overly broad. See Joint Mot. Entry Consent Decree 2,
December 15, 2015 (asking the Court, in the parties’
initial proposed consent decree, to retain jurisdiction
“for all other purposes related to this matter.”)
The proposed order now provides only that the Court will
retain jurisdiction “for the purpose of implementing
and enforcing the terms and conditions of this Consent
Decree.” Am. Proposed Consent Decree 2.
parties deem this arrangement sufficient to settle their
dispute over Wiegand Plumbing’s alleged failure to pay
required contributions to employee funds, and the Court
accepts and adopts this reason for entry of the injunction.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d)(1)(A). Based on the above-mentioned
terms of the amended proposed consent decree, the Court finds
that the parties have stated the terms of payment with
specificity, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d)(1)(B). The Court also
finds that the proposed decree describes in “reasonable
detail” the acts required of the parties, in compliance
with Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d)(1)(C), such that the parties can
easily determine when a breach has occurred and the
consequences of that breach. See PMC, Inc., 151 F.3d at 619.
See also H-D Michigan, LLC v. Hellenic Duty Free Shops
S.A., 694 F.3d 827,843 (7th Cir. 2012) (providing
district courts with broad discretion to determine the scope
of an injunction under Rule 65(d)(1)(C)).
of these modifications, the Court finds that the Seventh
Circuit’s requirements for a district court to adopt a
consent decree by way of compliance with Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 65(d) have been satisfied. The Court enters
and adopts the decree, and incorporates the parties’
proposed text, verbatim, below.
The Amended Proposed Consent Decree
MATTER, coming on to be heard by agreement of the Parties,
and the Parties having reached a compromise, and the Parties
having stipulated and agreed to the entry of this Consent
Decree, and the Parties having requested that the court
retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of their agreement
under the authority of Kokkonen v. Guardian Life
Insurance Company of America, 511 U.S. ...