Complete Victory Obtained in Withdrawal Liability Arbitration
A multiemployer pension fund demanded almost $14 million in mass and regular withdrawal liability from our client, a leading national hotel chain. The fund asserted that our client’s withdrawal from the fund several years earlier was part of an agreement or arrangement with other employers to withdraw, although our client had in fact closed the hotel for economic reasons. In discovery, we found that the fund’s demand resulted from an agreement between the fund and several of our client’s national competitors to stop contributing, switch to a national union pension plan, and leave our client with the bulk of withdrawal liability. We took the matter to arbitration under the withdrawal liability statute, and after testimony at the multi-day hearing and extensive briefing, the fund agreed to a settlement which negated the mass withdrawal demand, waived $5.3 million in future withdrawal liability payments, and returned $1.75 million to our client.