United States District Court, D. Connecticut
DAVID KELLY, RICHARD NORKO, ANNETTE DOBBS, PETER DELLOLIO, Plaintiffs,
HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL, INC. Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION GRANTING PLAINTIFFS'
MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION [DKT. 43]
Vanessa L. Bryant United States District Judge.
are former union members represented by UAW Locals 376 and
1010 who worked at the Stratford plant and retired from
Honeywell or AlliedSignal after October 28, 1994, and their
surviving spouses. In December 2015 Honeywell announced that
at the end of 2016 it would terminate the medical coverage
benefits Plaintiffs had been receiving since retirement.
[Dkt. 44-2 (Pls.' Local Rule 56(a)(1) Stmt.), ¶ 67;
Dkt. 55-1 (Defs.' Local 56(a)(2) Stmt.), ¶ 67].
filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction on October 31, 2016
in light of the upcoming coverage termination deadline.
[See Dkt. 43]. The Court subsequently held a
telephonic conference to discuss this issue and others, and
upon the parties' agreement the Court held in abeyance
the preliminary injunction pending the ruling on summary
judgment. [See Dkt. 52]. On February 28, 2017, the
Court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant as to
Subclass B: retirees who retired after the
expiration of the Agreements and their surviving spouses.
[See Dkt. 64]. This conclusion led the Court to find
as moot the Motion for Preliminary Injunction. [See
Dkt. 65]. Defendant terminated the medical coverage for
Subclass B the following day. [See Dkt. 83 (Joint
Report) at 1].
subsequently filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the
summary judgment ruling as to Subclass B, [see Dkt.
70], as well as an appeal of the summary judgment ruling, the
preliminary injunction ruling, and the judgment,
[see Dkt. 75]. The Court granted the Plaintiffs'
Motion for Reconsideration and ordered the parties to report
whether there is reason to revisit the preliminary
injunction. On June 15, 2017, the parties filed a Joint
Notice indicating that Defendant terminated the medical
benefits of Subclass B retirees and their surviving spouses
on March 1, 2017, the day after the Court granted summary
judgment in favor of the Defendant as to Subclass B.
[See Dkt. 83]. Two Subclass B members submitted
declarations along with the Joint Notice, and they indicated
that they did not receive notice of the termination of their
benefits until approximately three weeks later. See
[Dkt. 83-1 (Ex. 1, Keegan Decl.) ¶ 6 (receiving notice
March 22, 2017); Dkt. 83-1 (Ex. 2, Far Decl.) ¶ 6
(receiving notice March 24, 2017)]. Linda Keegan specifically
reported that she underwent three chemotherapy treatments
during the month of March when she did not know her medical
benefits had been terminated. [Dkt. 83-1 ¶ 9]. Mary Ann
Far stated that she obtained prescription drugs in March
during the time she unknowingly did not have medical coverage
benefits, and her provider informed her the cost of these
prescriptions was approximately $16, 180 (although she has
not yet been billed). [Dkt. 83-2 ¶ 10].
the Court's Order, Defendant filed a Response to the
Motion for Preliminary Injunction, [see Dkt. 86], to
which Plaintiffs replied, [see Dkt. 87]. For the
following reasons, Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary
Injunction is GRANTED.
obtain preliminary injunctive relief, the moving party must
establish “(a) irreparable harm and (b) either (1)
likelihood of success on the merits or (2) sufficiently
serious questions going to the merits to make them a fair
ground for litigation and a balance of hardships tipping
decidedly toward the party requesting the preliminary
relief.” Citigroup Glob. Markets, Inc. v. VCG
Special Opportunities Master Fund Ltd., 598 F.3d 30, 35
(2d Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). The value of this standard “lies in its
flexibility in the face of varying factual scenarios and the
greater uncertainties inherent at the outset of particularly
complex litigation.” Id. Plaintiffs request
that the Court order Defendant to reinstate medical coverage
benefits that, until recently, they have been receiving for
approximately 20 years and to which they believe they are
entitled. This constitutes the “normal function”
of a preliminary injunction: “to maintain the status
quo pending a full hearing on the merits.”
Treibwasser & Katz v. Am. Tel. & Tel. Co.,
535 F.2d 1356, 1360 (2d Cir. 1976).
the threat of termination as well as the actual termination
of medical coverage benefits constitute irreparable harm.
See Whelan v. Colgan, 602 F.2d 1060, 1062 (2d Cir.
1979) (“In fact, the threatened termination of benefits
such as medical coverage for workers and their families
obviously raised the spectre of irreparable injury.”);
Commc'ns Workers of Am., Dist. One, AFL-CIO v.
NYNEX Corp., 898 F.2d 887, 891 (2d Cir. 1990)
(“In this circuit, the threat of termination of medical
benefits to striking workers has been held to constitute
irreparable harm.”); Fishman v. Paolucci, 628
F. App'x 797, 801 (2d Cir. 2015) (“A lack of
medical services is exactly the sort of irreparable harm that
preliminary injunctions are designed to address.”);
LaForest v. Honeywell, No. 03-CV-6248T, 2003 WL
23180220, at *1 (W.D.N.Y. Sept. 19, 2003) (“If the mere
threat of termination of medical benefits constitutes
irreparable harm, then the actual termination of medical
benefits certainly constitutes irreparable harm.”)
(internal citations omitted). Factors demonstrating retirees
will experience irreparable harm include:
(1) most retired union members are not rich, (2) most live on
fixed incomes, (3) many will get sick and need medical care,
(4) medical care is expensive, (5) medical insurance is,
therefore, a necessity, and (6) some retired workers may find
it difficult to obtain medical insurance on their own while
others can pay for it only out of money that they need for
other necessities of life.
United Steelworkers of Am., AFL-CIO v. Textron,
Inc., 836 F.2d 6, 8 (1st Cir. 1987); see
LaForest, 2003 WL 23180220, at *1 (citing United
Steelworkers of Am. in a case where the plaintiffs
argued irreparable harm because the loss of medical coverage
caused “(1) substantial risk to plaintiffs' health;
(2) severe financial hardship; (3) the inability to purchase
life's necessities; and (4) anxiety associated with
submitted two declarations demonstrating they have
experienced and will experience irreparable harm due to
Defendant's decision to terminate their medical coverage
benefits. Ms. Keegan receives chemotherapy treatment for AL
amyloidosis, a rare malignant blood disorder. [Dkt. 83-1
¶ 4]. Although she has found replacement medical
coverage, she and her husband must pay an additional $550 a
month. Id. ¶ 7. They receive pension and Social
Security benefits. Id. ¶ 6. Ms. Keegan did not
receive chemotherapy in the last week of March as a result of
the expenses incurred. Id. ¶ 9. Ms. Far
similarly experiences rising costs for the prescription
medication that she must take for her heart condition, high
blood pressure, and pre-diabetic issues and that her husband
must take for multiple sclerosis. See [Dkt. 83-2
¶ 4, 7-8]. Their family now has an additional expense of
$12, 000 per year with possibly an additional cost of $16,
180 for prescription medication, which they obtained during
the period they were unknowingly uninsured; such expenses
cause financial stress given they live on disability income
and one full-time income. Id. ¶¶ 11-12. As
such, the declarations clearly show Defendant's decision
to terminate their medical coverage benefits can lead to
irreparable harm, as the individuals report to rely at least
in part on fixed incomes, they need medical care that is
expensive, medical insurance is expensive, and they are
struggling to make ends meet given other expenses in life.
The Court finds irreparable harm has been established.
Sufficiently Serious ...