Tucker Arensberg’s ERISA Litigation Group represents multiemployer trust funds (i.e., Taft-Hartley Funds) across the country in arbitrations and federal district, circuit, and bankruptcy courts. The group specializes in the collection of withdrawal liability and delinquent contributions, as well as defending class action benefit claims. The group is composed of several talented attorneys who have extensive litigation experience and who work as a team with the singular goal of achieving the best results for their clients. This team-oriented approach has allowed the group to have success against some of the biggest law firms across the country in complex matters involving fact-intensive and unsettled legal issues.
Since Tucker Arensberg started representing multiemployer trust funds in 1969, we have handled thousands of delinquent monthly contribution cases and hundreds of withdrawal liability cases. The group also has expertise representing multiemployer trust funds in bankruptcy matters, where the policies underlying ERISA and the Bankruptcy Code often conflict.
The ERISA Litigation Group represents both national and local plans located and doing business all over the United States.
The ERISA Litigation Group consists of individuals that have:
Over 20 (and even 30) years of complex litigation experience
Been frequent speakers in the areas of the collection of delinquent contributions and withdrawal liability for the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Authored publications on the collection of delinquent contributions and/or withdrawal liability for Benefits Magazine
Worked as judicial law clerks for a federal district courts, federal bankruptcy courts, and state appellate courts
Worked as a state securities regulator
Worked as a federal prosecutor
Graduated with honors from law school
Served as a Bankruptcy Judge
Testified before the Senate
In addition to handling litigation matters for Taft-Hartley employee benefit funds, the ERISA Litigation Group provides full-service training and educational programs for trust funds. These educational programs include sessions geared toward employers to reduce delinquencies and improve payroll audit compliance; education for boards of trustees relative to specific legal issues, case law, and procedures; and programs for union business agents, district representatives, and organizers relative to delinquencies and withdrawal liability to assist in communications with signatory employers.
ERISA Litigation Representative Experience:
Successfully handled hundreds of withdrawal liability cases and thousands of delinquent contribution cases across the country.
Within Pennsylvania and the surrounding states, we represent various multiemployer trust funds sponsored by the Carpenters, Bricklayers, Iron Workers, Laborers, Operating Engineers, Painters, Plumbers, and Steamfitters.
On a nationwide basis, we handle hundreds of withdrawal liability and delinquent contribution claims for the: Boilermaker-Blacksmith National Pension Trust, International Painters and Allied Trades Industry Pension Fund, and the Steelworkers Pension Trust.
Serves as litigation counsel for the Alaska Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry Combined Funds, as well as withdrawal liability counsel for their Pension Fund.
Lead Counsel in withdrawal liability claim for $205 million.
Assisted in litigating withdrawal liability claims relating to the building and construction industry exemption and successor liability.
Negotiated dozens of settlements and assisted in drafting agreements in various ERISA matters.
Resolved disputes relating to the proper beneficiaries of pension benefits.
Lead trial team that obtained a district court’s affirmation of an arbitrator’s award in favor of a pension fund for $78 million in an action against an employer who made a transaction to evade or avoid withdrawal liability.
Lead Counsel defending class action lawsuits filed against national multiemployer pension and welfare plans.
Represented two major union pension funds in a complex action against a defunct employer’s surety to recover significant amounts of delinquent contributions owed for work funneled through the employer’s sham non-union company. This case was resolved with a favorable settlement following the conclusion of discovery and summary judgment briefing.
Represented national Multiemployer pension plan in withdrawal liability litigation regarding the building and construction industry exemption and laches.
Represented national Multiemployer pension plan in withdrawal liability litigation regarding control group, successor, and alter ego liability.
Represented national Multiemployer pension plan in withdrawal liability arbitration proceeding regarding the year of withdrawal.
Represented Multiemployer employee benefit plans in litigation against employer and bond company to recover delinquent contributions.
Represented Multiemployer employee benefit plans in complex litigation against a signatory employer, the first tier subcontractor, the general contractor, and owner relative to $1,000,000 in delinquent contributions. Through a combination of litigation, mechanic’s liens, and stop notices, all of the contributions were recovered and the first tier subcontractor became signatory.
Actions to confirm a $79 million arbitration award and recover an additional $18 million in statutory damages; district court and Third Circuit upheld the arbitration award against the former controlled group members of a withdrawn employer who violated ERISA’s “evade or avoid” provision by engaging in a complex financial transaction that was designed in principal part to insulate themselves from the employer’s projected withdrawal liability; district court and Third Circuit also ordered the former controlled group members to pay an additional $18 million in statutory damages for failing to make interim payments to the fund after being notified of the fund’s claim. Steelworkers Pension Trust v. Renco Group, Inc., Fed. App’x, 2021 WL 3788945 (3d Cir. Aug. 26, 2021).
Discovery dispute in “evade or avoid” case involving the common interest privilege; district court agreed with the fund that the privilege did not apply, compelled the documents sought by the fund, denied reconsideration, refused to certify its order to the Ninth Circuit for interlocutory review, and awarded the fund all reasonable fees and expenses incurred in connection with the motions practice. Miller v. Boilermaker-Blacksmith Nat’l Pension Trust, 2021 WL 2935056 (E.D. Wash. Apr. 16, 2021), reconsideration denied by, 2021 WL 2934590 (E.D. Wash. Jul. 12, 2021); 2021 WL 6246617 (E.D. Wash. Sept. 14, 2021).
Action to appoint arbitrator to preside over a $205 million withdrawal liability dispute; federal court refused to select any of the arbitrators proposed by the company (all former judges with no prior withdrawal liability experience and whom the company had ex parte interviews); court instead chose a traditional labor and pension arbitrator proposed by the fund notwithstanding the company’s generalized and speculative claims of bias. General Electric Co. v. Boilermaker-Blacksmith Nat’l Pension Trust, 2020 WL 2113209 (D. Kan. May 4, 2020).
Action to compel interim payments pending arbitration; district court held as a matter of first impression that there is no equitable exception to the “pay now, dispute later” rule and ordered the employer to make payments pending arbitration regardless of whether doing so would cause the employer irreparable injury. Boilermaker-Blacksmith National Pension Trust v. PSF Industries, Inc., 424 F. Supp. 3d 1103 (D. Kan. 2019).
The collection of delinquent employer contributions reported as due and found on audit are a specialty of the ERISA litigation team. Tools including litigation, mechanic’s liens, stop notices, and bond claims are utilized regularly and allow us to collect where others were unsuccessful.
The ERISA team has extensive experience in public speaking and providing educational programs to Multiemployer employee benefit funds, their trustees, the related Union(s), signatory employers, and other service providers.