Practice

Litigated Cases

Our attorneys have litigated the following cases:

Wilson et al v. United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, et al, 37 EBC 2199 (S.D.N.Y. 2006) Group of Retirees not entitled to lifetime guarantee of medical benefits from International Union and affiliated local unions.

Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension Fund v. BES Services, 469 F.3d 369 (4th Cir. 2006). Employer waived its right to challenge fund’s withdrawal liability calculation when it failed to arbitrate whether it was entitled to reduction because of sale of assets or insolvency.

National Shopmen Pension Fund v. DISA Industries, Inc., 653 F. 3d 573 (7th Cir. 2011). Employer that voluntarily dismissed arbitration waived right to challenge Fund’s calculation of withdrawal liability payment schedule.

Board of Trustees of National Shopmen Pension Fund v. Northern Steel Corp., 657 F. Supp. 2d 155 (D.D.C. 2009). Companies are alter egos of withdrawn employer and, therefore, jointly and severally liable for withdrawal liability.

Wildeboar v. Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension Fund, 49 E.B.C. 1134 (E.D. Kent. 2010), and Lee’s v. Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension Fund, 760 F. Supp. 711 (E.D. MI 2010). Trustees’ determination that welding work was disqualifying employment under plan not an abuse of discretion.

Bay Area Laundry and Dry Cleaning Pension Trust Fund v. Ferbar Corp., 522 U.S. 192 (1997). The statute of limitations for collection of withdrawal liability begins to run on the date an employer misses an installment payment, not the date of withdrawal. (Amicus curiae brief supporting Fund’s petition for writ of certiorari.)

Local 144 Nursing Home Pension Fund v. Demisay, 508 U.S. 581 (1993). The Taft-Hartley Act does not confer jurisdiction on federal courts to remedy “structural defects” in multiemployer plans.

Mass. Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Russell, 473 U.S. 134 (1985). Fiduciaries cannot be held liable to plan participants for extra-contractual punitive or compensatory damages for improper or untimely processing of claims. (Amicus curiae brief filed on behalf of 13 multiemployer health and welfare and pension funds.)

Ryan Iron Works, Inc. v. NLRB, No. 257 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2001). Employer is liable to the fund for pension contributions retroactive to the date that, during an economic strike, it unilaterally terminated these contributions. (Represented the pension fund as an intervenor in the case.)

Shelby County Health Care Corp. v. Southern Council of Indus. Workers Trust Fund, 203 F.3d 926 (6th Cir. 2000). Trustees’ interpretation of when claim is timely filed is subject to the arbitrary and capricious standard but reverses with respect to the amount of damages awarded by the district court.

Faircloth v. Lundy Packing Co., 91 F.3d 648 (4th Cir. 1996). Defines which documents must be provided to participants upon request under ERISA’s reporting and disclosure provisions.

Connors v. Incoal Inc., 995 F.2d 245 (D.C. Cir. 1993). A company may be a member of withdrawn employer’s controlled group, and thus be held liable for withdrawal liability, even if it has no economic nexus with withdrawn employer. (Amicus curiae brief supporting fund.)

Artistic Carton Co., et al v. The Paper Indus. Union-Management Pension Fund, 971 F.2d 1346 (7 th Cir. 1992). Multiemployer plan may rely on its ongoing funding calculation as reported on the fund’s Form 5500 in determining whether it is fully funded for purposes of assessing withdrawal liability and may assess withdrawal liability based on periods prior to the employer’s initiation of contributions.

Masters, Mates & Pilots Pension Plan v. USX Corp., 900 F.2d 727 (4th Cir. 1990). A fund’s actuarial assumptions in the calculation of withdrawal liability are reasonable and the fund may revise an assessment of withdrawal liability after an employer has initiated arbitration.

The Grand Union Co. v. Food Employers Labor Relations Ass’n and United Food and Commercial Workers Pension Fund, 808 F.2d 66 (D.C. Cir. 1987). Application of the sale of assets exemption to withdrawal liability must be arbitrated under MPPAA prior to resorting to the courts. A withdrawn employer has no standing to sue multiemployer pension fund trustees for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty.

Ben Hur Constr. Co. v. Goodwin, 784 F.2d 876 (8th Cir. 1986). A plan applying the direct-attribution method for calculating withdrawal liability could assess liability against a withdrawn employer even when the fund as a whole was fully funded. Court awarded attorneys’ fees for the cost of litigation. The employer sought to reverse this case as a result of a subsequent PBGC Notice, and review was denied in Ben Hur Constr. Co. v. Goodwin, 116 F.R.D. 281 (1987 E.D. Mo.), affirmed without opinion, 855 F.2d 859 (8th Cir. 1988). Attorneys’ fees awarded for the costs of the second case as well.

Pantry Pride, Inc. v. Retail Clerks Tri-State Pension Fund, 747 F.2d 169 (3rd Cir. 1984). Addresses interim withdrawal liability payments under the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 (“MPPAA”).

Shatto v. Evans Products Co., 728 F.2d 1224 (9th Cir. 1984). A pension plan may be subject to ERISA even though the employer ceased contributions to the plan in 1972; plan liabilities to participants arising from plan termination must be satisfied before employer may recapture any plan assets.

Stewart v. Nat’l Shopmen Pension Fund, 730 F.2d 1552 (D.C. Cir. 1984), cert denied,469 U.S. 834 (1984). A plan provision permitting the cancellation of past service credits granted to participants for a period when their employers were not contributing to the fund is lawful. In a subsequent suit, Stewart v. National Shopmen Pension Fund, 795 F.2d 1079 (D.C. Cir. 1986), the participants contended that cancellation of past service credits was arbitrary and capricious unless necessary to prevent the actuarial unsoundness of the entire plan. The Court of Appeals rejected this argument.

Washington Area Carpenters Welfare Fund v. Overhead Door Co., 681 F.2d 1 (D.C. Cir. 1982, cert denied, 461 U.S. 926 (1983). Reversing district court, court held that a construction employer may not retroactively repudiate a collective bargaining agreement.

Gaudet v. Sheet Metal Workers’ Nat’l Pension Fund, 27 EBC 1113 ( E.D. La. 2001). Beneficiary of plan participant must exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing suit by appealing to the fund’s Board of Trustees the fund administrator’s determination that the domestic relations order she obtained was not a qualified domestic relations order (“QDRO”).

Nat’l Shopmen Pension Fund v. Burtman Iron Works, Inc., 148 F.Supp. 2d 60 (D.D.C. 2001). Employer liable for contributions to the fund for temporary employee that it hired through temporary agency and for commuting time paid to other employees.

Scardelletti v. Bobo, Civ. No. JFM-95-52, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14498 (D. Md. Sept. 8, 1997). Cost-of-living benefit is not an accrued benefit protected by the ERISA anti-cutback rule for plan participants who retired before it was adopted.

Keller v. Nagle No. 2:97-cv-00945 (S.D.W.Va. 1997). Disability application was properly denied where injury was result of prolonged occupational activity.

In re Sen Wel Indus., Inc., 16 EBC 2405 (Bankr. W.D.N.Y. 1993). Multiemployer pension fund’s claim in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding for accrued interest on contributions owed for post-petition work is entitled to priority as an administrative expense.

Dennis v. Board of Trustees of FELRA and UFCW Pension Fund, 6 EBC 2477 amend’g620 F. Supp. 572 (M.D. Pa. 1985). Suspension of benefits of participant receiving early retirement benefits is not arbitrary and capricious.

Walker v. Jaffee, 5 EBC 2736 (W.D. Tex. 1983). Union may represent rights of members in a suit to redress fiduciary violations.

Corley v. The Hecht Co., 4 EBC 1155 (D.D.C. 1983). Court finds that the plan sponsor improperly administered a life insurance plan and awards attorneys’ fees covering the entire cost of the litigation.

Robbins v. PBGC, 2 EBC 1447 (N.D. Ill. 1981). Premium requirement of the multiemployer pension plan termination insurance program under Title IV of ERISA is constitutional.

Eaton v. D’Amato, 581 F. Supp. 743 (D.D.C. 1980). Defines who is a fiduciary and held that punitive damages are recoverable under ERISA.

Lechner v. Nat’l Benefit Fund for Hosp. and Health Care Employees, 512 F. Supp. 1220 (S.D.N.Y. 1980). Participant has standing to bring an action seeking injunctive relief for improper plan administration.

Espinosa v. Crowe , 2 EBC 1907 (D. Mass. 1981). Addresses the ability to remove a pension plan trustee.

PBGC v. Ouimet Corp., 470 F. Supp. 945 (D. Mass, 1979) aff’d 630 F.2d 4 (1st Cir.) cert. denied, 450 U.S. 914 (1980). The PBGC’s first suit to collect employer withdrawal liability under ERISA.

Hurd v. Hutnik, 419 F. Supp. 630 (D.N.J. 1976). The first termination of a multiemployer plan under ERISA.

GFR Enterprises Ltd. d/b/a Guarantee Iron Works and Nat'l Shopmen Pension Fund, 11 EBC 1040 (1989) (Sands, Arb.). Sole proprietorship and a successor family-owned enterprise are the same employer for purposes of withdrawal liability.

In re Powell, 29 EBC 1507 (Bankr. D. Md. 2002). In a case of first impression, the court held that a participant's discharge in bankruptcy did not bar a welfare fund from withholding benefits to which the participant would otherwise be entitled, where the participant received advances from the fund and later received a recovery from a third party, but failed to reimburse the fund for the advances.

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