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Boland v. Wasco, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

October 17, 2014

JAMES BOLAND, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
WASCO, INC., et al., Defendants

Page 16

For James Boland, Henry Kramer, Gerard Scarano, Timothy Driscoll, Gerald O'Malley, Eugene George, Robert Hoover, Matthew Aquiline, Gregory R. Hess, William Mcconnell, Charles Costella, John Trendell, Fred Kinateder, as Trustees of, and on behalf of, the BRICKLAYERS AND TROWEL TRADES INTERNATIONAL PENSION FUND, Plaintiffs: Charles Vincent Mehler, III, LEAD ATTORNEY, DICKSTEIN SHAPIRO LLP, Washington, DC.

For Wasco, Inc., Lovell's Masonry, Inc., Defendants: Daniel Z. Herbst, LEAD ATTORNEY, REED SMITH LLP, Washington, DC; Steven C. Douse, KING & BALLOW, Nashville, TN.

For Wasco, Inc., Lovell's Masonry, Inc., Counter Claimants: Steven C. Douse, KING & BALLOW, Nashville, TN.

For Matthew Aquiline, James Boland, Charles Costella, Timothy Driscoll, Eugene George, Gregory R. Hess, Robert Hoover, Fred Kinateder as Trustees of, and on behalf of, the BRICKLAYERS AND TROWEL TRADES INTERNATIONAL PENSION FUND, Henry Kramer, William Mcconnell, Gerald O'Malley, Gerard Scarano, John Trendell, Counter Defendants: Charles Vincent Mehler, III, LEAD ATTORNEY, DICKSTEIN SHAPIRO LLP, Washington, DC.

Page 17

Re Document No.: 17

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RUDOLPH CONTRERAS, United States District Judge.

Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

I. INTRODUCTION

When a pension fund determines that an employer has withdrawn from a multiemployer pension plan covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (" ERISA" ) and notifies the employer accordingly, the employer is obligated to make withdrawal liability payments to the fund. Even when withdrawal liability is disputed, the employer must make interim payments under a " pay now, dispute later" rule. In this action, a pension fund's trustees (" Trustees" ) seek to recover interim payments from two employers. Before this Court now is the Trustees' motion for judgment on the pleadings. Having reviewed the parties' filings and the relevant authorities, this Court shall grant the Trustees' motion.

II. BACKGROUND

Defendants Wasco, Inc., and Lovell's Masonry, Inc. (collectively " WASCO" ), are building and construction companies that employ members of the Bricklayers & Trowel Trades International Union. See Answer & Countercl. ¶ 6, ECF No. 5. The Union and WASCO entered into collective bargaining agreements requiring WASCO to make pension contributions to the Bricklayers & Trowel Trades International Pension Fund (" IPF" ). See id. ¶ ¶ 7, 8. The IPF is a " multiemployer plan" governed by ERISA, as amended by the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act (" MPPAA" ). See Compl. ¶ 3, ECF No. 1 (citing 29 U.S.C. § 1002(3), (37)).[1]

Congress enacted the MPPAA to ensure the financial integrity of multiemployer pension funds, whose solvency can be jeopardized when employers withdraw from those plans. See Joyce v. Clyde Sandoz Masonry, 871 F.2d 1119, 1120, 276 U.S. App.D.C. 379 (D.C. Cir. 1989). The MPPAA provides that when an employer withdraws from a multiemployer plan,[2] the plan sponsor is authorized to calculate and collect " withdrawal liability" --the employer's share of the plan's unfunded vested benefits. 29 U.S.C. § § 1381(a), 1382, 1399(b). If a dispute arises over the amount or schedule of payments that the parties cannot resolve themselves, they must proceed to arbitration. See id. § § 1399(b)(2), 1401(a). Under the MPPAA's " pay now, dispute later" procedure, interim withdrawal liability payments " shall be payable" according to the plan sponsor's schedule " notwithstanding any request for review or appeal of ...


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