United States District Court, N.D. California
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE LABORERS VACATION-HOLIDAY TRUST FUND FOR NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, et al., Plaintiffs,
D. LOPEZ, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO ENFORCE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
RE: DKT. NO. 30
M. RYU, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the court is an unopposed motion to enforce the Settlement
Agreement filed by Plaintiffs Board of Trustees of the
Laborers Vacation-Holiday Trust Fund for Northern California,
Laborers Pension Trust Fund for Northern California, and
Laborers Training and Retraining Trust Fund for Northern
California. [Docket No. 30]. This matter is suitable for
resolution without a hearing. Civ. L.R 7-1(b). For the
reasons stated below, the court grants Plaintiffs'
are employee benefits trust funds established through
collective bargaining agreements between the Northern
California District Council of Laborers and employer
associations representing construction industry employers
doing business in Northern California. Complaint
(“Compl.”) ¶ 3 [Docket No. 1]. Plaintiffs
are governed by the Employment Retirement Income Security Act
of 1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1002(3)
and (37), and Section 302 of the Labor Management Relations
Act of 1947 (“LMRA”), 29 U.S.C. § 186.
Compl. ¶ 3 [Docket No. 1]. Defendant D. Lopez is an
employer within the meaning of ERISA and the LMRA. Compl.
¶ 3 [Docket No. 1].
1, 2014, Plaintiffs filed this action under ERISA and LMRA to
recover unpaid benefit contributions, liquidated damages and
interest, attorneys' fees and costs, and to obtain an
injunction requiring an audit of Lopez's books and
records. See generally Compl. According to the
complaint, Lopez agreed to make timely employer contributions
to the Trust Funds, but failed to do so. Id.
¶¶ 10, 13-14.
February 23, 2015, the parties executed the Settlement
Agreement, in which Lopez agreed to pay the outstanding trust
fund contributions for the period of October 2012 through
December 2014. Settlement Agreement (Ex. A to Declaration of
Michelle Lauziere (“Lauziere Decl.”) [Docket No.
31]; Lauziere Decl. ¶ 5.
the Settlement Agreement, Lopez agreed to pay outstanding
trust fund contributions for the period of October 2012
through March 2014, totaling $113, 950.00, as forty-eight
equal monthly installments of $2, 373.96 starting August 25,
2015 until the balance was paid in full. Settlement Agreement
¶ 2. He also agreed to pay outstanding trust fund
contributions for the period of April 2014 through December
2014, totaling $124, 079.62, as six equal monthly
installments of $20, 679.94 by July 25, 2015. Id.
Settlement Agreement provides that in the event Lopez fails
to make a required monthly installment payment, he must cure
the cure the default within 10 days of receipt of a written
notice of default sent to his e-mail address,
email@example.com. Settlement Agreement,
¶ 4. If he fails to cure the default in 10 days, the
entire remaining balance under the Settlement Agreement is
immediately due and payable. Id.
March 12, 2015, the parties filed a Stipulation for Dismissal
Without Prejudice and Retention of Jurisdiction, requesting
that the court dismiss the case without prejudice, and retain
jurisdiction to enforce the Settlement Agreement should any
disputes arise. Stipulation for Dismissal Without Prejudice
and Retention of Jurisdiction (“Stipulation for
Dismissal”) [Docket No. 28]. The court granted the
Stipulation for Dismissal on March 16, 2015, and agreed to
“retain jurisdiction over this matter to enforce the
[Settlement] Agreement should any action be required to
enforce the [Settlement] Agreement after the dismissal
without prejudice is entered by the [c]ourt.” Order
Granting Stipulation for Dismissal [Docket No. 29].
February 8, 2018, Plaintiff filed this motion to enforce the
Settlement Agreement. [Docket No. 30]. According to
Plaintiffs, Lopez is in default pursuant to the Settlement
Agreement because he has failed to make required monthly
installment payments of $2, 373.96 since July 2017, and has
not cured the default. Plaintiffs seek an order requiring Lopez
to pay the entire remaining balance due of $35, 561.24
pursuant to paragraph 4 of the Settlement Agreement.
Plaintiffs also request an award of attorneys' fees in
the amount of $2, 899.00 which they incurred in enforcing the
Settlement Agreement pursuant to paragraph 7 of the
did not opposed the motion.
undisputed that the court has jurisdiction to enforce the
Settlement Agreement. See Order Granting Stipulaton
of Dismissal; see also Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.
of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 380-81 (1994) (explaining that a
court has ancillary jurisdiction to enforce a settlement
agreement when the parties agree to continuing or retention
“motion to enforce [a] settlement agreement essentially
is an action to specifically enforce a contract, ” and
“[a]n action for specific performance without a claim
for damages is purely equitable and historically has always
been tried to the court.” Adams v. Johns-Manville
Corp., 876 F.2d 702, 709 (9th Cir. 1989) (citation and
internal quotations marks omitted). Thus, “the court
may hear evidence and make factual determinations.”
Fair Hous. Council of Cent. Cal., Inc. v. Tylar Prop.
Mgmt. Co., 975 F.Supp.2d 1115, 1118 (E.D. Cal. 2012)
(citing Stewart v. M.D.F., Inc., 83 F.3d 247, 251
(8th Cir. 1996)). A court may order compliance with a
settlement agreement in light of evidence of a party's
non-compliance. See, e.g., Fisher v. Biozone Pharm.,
Inc., No. 12-CV-03716-LB, 2017 WL 1097198, at *1 (N.D.
Cal. Mar. 23, 2017) (prohibiting the plaintiff from
“making any ...