Brian is a key member of the firm’s ERISA withdrawal liability team, which represents multiemployer pension funds in withdrawal liability cases in arbitrations and district courts throughout the United States.
Before joining Tucker Arensberg, Brian was a judicial law clerk to two federal judges in Pittsburgh: the Honorable Nora Barry Fisher, U.S. District Judge (Sept. 2017 to May 2018), and the Honorable Cynthia Reed Eddy, Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge (Dec. 2013 to Sept. 2017). During his time as a federal law clerk, Brian worked “behind the scenes” on cases at all stages of the litigation (from the filing of the complaint through trial). He has drafted dozens of judicial opinions involving a wide range of substantive and procedural issues. In that process, he not only developed strong research and writing skills, but he also learned which types of arguments judges find most persuasive.
Brian now uses that invaluable experience to develop case strategies and craft legal arguments for his clients in withdrawal liability disputes, which are often worth millions of dollars and involve complicated issues of first impression. He has litigated the application of several withdrawal liability statutory provisions, including the following:
- The Building and Construction Industry Exemption
- Transactions to “evade or avoid” withdrawal liability
- The Section 4225(a) reduction
- Controlled group liability (including in the bankruptcy context)
- The “pay now, dispute later” rule.
- Drafted numerous sections of briefs that resulted in the district court affirming an arbitrator’s award holding that the former members of a contributing employer’s “controlled group” were liable to the fund for $78.5 million in withdrawal liability under Section 4212(c)’s “evade or avoid” theory. Renco Group, Inc. v. Steelworkers Pension Trust, 2:18-cv-1311, 2019 WL 4748057 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 30, 2019).
- Drafted briefs that ultimately resulted in the recovery of approximately $78.5 million in interim withdrawal liability payments under ERISA’s “pay now, dispute later” rule, plus an additional $17.5 million in statutory damages under Section 502(g)(2). Steelworkers Pension Trust v. Renco Group, Inc., 2:18-cv-142, 2019 WL 4748055 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 30, 2019).
- Drafted briefs that resulted in the district court holding as a matter of first impression that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals would not recognize an equitable exception to the “pay now, dispute later” rule. Boilermaker-Blacksmith National Pension Trust v. PSF Industries, Inc., 2:18-cv-2467, 2019 WL 6340064 (D. Kan. Nov. 27, 2019).
- Negotiated stipulated judgment order for approximately $840,000.
- Drafted motion for default judgment in which client obtained judgment in excess of $4.5 million.
Presentations & Publications
- "Individual Owners Held Personally Responsible for Withdrawal Liability Based on Rent-Free Leasing Activity, Tucker Arensberg blog post, July 2021.
- “Withdrawal Liability,” Tucker Arensberg’s Labor & Employment Update, Sept. 2019.
- "View from the Other Side of the Bench: Practical Tips for Effective Employment Law Practices in the Western District of Pennsylvania," PBI Employment Law Institute CLE, November 2017.