Ninth Circuit Allows Pension Fund to Wipe Out Credit for Prior Partial Withdrawal Liability

gciuAn important decision issued by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last month once again illustrates the one-sided nature of many withdrawal liability disputes and will likely have significant ramifications for many employers withdrawing from underfunded pension plans. The decision holds that the plan correctly applied a credit for a prior partial withdrawal against the employer’s subsequent complete withdrawal before calculating the twenty-year limitation on annual payments provided by ERISA.

By way of background, withdrawal liability is imposed upon an employer when it withdraws from a multiemployer pension fund, and a withdrawal may be either partial or complete. If an employer incurs a partial withdrawal and subsequently incurs either another partial or a complete withdrawal, ERISA directs that the employer be given a credit for the first partial withdrawal. ERISA also limits an employer’s obligation to twenty years of payments.

In GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund v. Quad Graphics, Inc., the employer incurred a partial withdrawal followed by a complete. In calculating the subsequent complete withdrawal liability, the plan applied Continue reading