Practice Areas

Litigated Cases

Benefit Claims Litigation

  • Anthony v. Int’l Ass’n of Machinists & Aerospace Workers Dist. Lodge 1, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54033 (D.D.C. Mar. 29, 2019). Summary judgment granted to trustees of national pension fund in claim for benefits because they reasonably concluded that plaintiff was not an eligible participant in the plan.
  • Wildeboar Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension Fund, 49 E.B.C. 1134 (E.D. Kent. 2010), and Lee’s v. Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension Fund, 760 F. Supp. 711 (E.D. MI 2010). Trustees’ determination that welding work was disqualifying employment under plan not an abuse of discretion.
  • Gaudet v. Sheet Metal Workers’ Nat’l Pension Fund, 27 EBC 1113 ( E.D. La. 2001). Beneficiary of plan participant must exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing suit by appealing to the fund’s Board of Trustees the fund administrator’s determination that the domestic relations order she obtained was not a qualified domestic relations order (“QDRO”).
  • Keller v. Nagle 2:97-cv-00945 (S.D.W.Va. 1997). Disability application was properly denied where injury was result of prolonged occupational activity.
  • Corley v. The Hecht Co., 4 EBC 1155 (D.D.C. 1983). Court finds that the plan sponsor improperly administered a life insurance plan and awards attorneys’ fees covering the entire cost of the litigation.
  • Lechner v. Nat’l Benefit Fund for Hosp. and Health Care Employees, 512 F. Supp. 1220 (S.D.N.Y. 1980). One of the first cases finding that a participant has standing to bring an action seeking injunctive relief for improper plan administration.

 Fiduciary Issues

  • Janese v. Fay, 692 F .3d 221 (2d Cir. 2012). Pension fund trustees were not acting as fiduciaries under ERISA when amending the plan, and therefore claims for breach of fiduciary duty were properly dismissed.
  • Eaton v. D’Amato, 581 F. Supp. 743 (D.D.C. 1980). Defines who is a fiduciary and held that punitive damages may be recoverable under ERISA.

Employer Contributions

  • Nat’l Shopmen Pension Fund v. Burtman Iron Works, Inc., 148 F.Supp. 2d 60 (D.D.C. 2001). Employer liable for contributions to the fund for temporary employee that it hired through temporary agency and for commuting time paid to other employees.
  • In re Sen Wel Indus., Inc., 16 EBC 2405 (Bankr. W.D.N.Y. 1993). Multiemployer pension fund’s claim in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding for accrued interest on contributions owed for post-petition work is entitled to priority as an administrative expense.
  • Shatto v. Evans Products Co., 728 F.2d 1224 (9th Cir. 1984). A pension plan may be subject to ERISA even though the employer ceased contributions to the plan in 1972; plan liabilities to participants arising from plan termination must be satisfied before employer may recapture any plan assets.

 Withdrawal Liability

  • Bd. of Trs. v. C&S Wholesale Grocers, 802 F.3d 534 (3d Cir. 2015). The annual withdrawal liability payment should be calculated using the single highest contribution rate of any rate in three collective bargaining agreements and should not be limited to the highest contribution rate for each class of employees.
  • Bd. of Trs. v. Del. Valley Sign Corp., 945 F. Supp. 2d 649 (E.D. Va. 2013). Individual who owns employer that contributed to multiemployer pension fund may be held liable for the employer’s withdrawal liability under the MPPAA where that individual leases property to the employer.
  • National Shopmen Pension Fund v. DISA Industries, Inc., 653 F. 3d 573 (7th Cir. 2011). Employer that voluntarily dismissed arbitration waived right to challenge Fund’s calculation of withdrawal liability payment schedule.
  • Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension Fund v. BES Services, 469 F.3d 369 (4th Cir. 2006). Employer waived its right to challenge fund’s withdrawal liability calculation when it failed to arbitrate whether it was entitled to reduction because of sale of assets or insolvency.
  • Bay Area Laundry and Dry Cleaning Pension Trust Fund v. Ferbar Corp., 522 U.S. 192 (1997). The statute of limitations for collection of withdrawal liability begins to run on the date an employer misses an installment payment, not the date of withdrawal. (Amicuscuriae brief supporting Fund’s petition for writ of certiorari.)
  • Artistic Carton Co., et al v. The Paper Indus. Union-Management Pension Fund, 971 F.2d 1346 (7th Cir. 1992). Multiemployer plan may rely on its ongoing funding calculation as reported on the fund’s Form 5500 in determining whether it is fully funded for purposes of assessing withdrawal liability and may assess withdrawal liability based on periods prior to the employer’s initiation of contributions.
  • Masters, Mates & Pilots Pension Plan v. USX Corp., 900 F.2d 727 (4th Cir. 1990). A fund’s actuarial assumptions in the calculation of withdrawal liability are reasonable and first case holding that the fund may revise an assessment of withdrawal liability after an employer has initiated arbitration.

 Miscellaneous

  • Joint Apprenticeship & Training Comm. of Local Union No. 36 v. Weddle,  2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151241 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 1, 2016).  National and Local training funds’ state law claims against former apprentice to enforce terms of loan agreement are not preempted by ERISA.
  • Waugh Chapel South, LLC v. United Food & Commer. Workers Union Local 27, 728 F.3d 354 (4th Cir. 2013). LMRA claims cannot be brought against the fund as a labor organization despite the fund’s designation as labor organization for tax liability purposes.
  • In re Powell, 29 EBC 1507 (Bankr. D. Md. 2002). In a case of first impression, the court held that a participant’s discharge in bankruptcy did not bar a welfare fund from withholding benefits to which the participant would otherwise be entitled, where the participant received advances from the fund and later received a recovery from a third party, but failed to reimburse the fund for the advances.
  • Scardelletti v. Bobo, Civ. No. JFM-95-52, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14498 (D. Md. Sept. 8, 1997). Cost-of-living benefit is not an accrued benefit protected by the ERISA anti-cutback rule for plan participants who retired before it was adopted.
  • Robbins v. PBGC, 2 EBC 1447 (N.D. Ill. 1981). As of one of the first private practitioners representing the PBGC, obtained decision that the premium requirement of the multiemployer pension plan termination insurance program under Title IV of ERISA is constitutional.
  • Espinosa v. Crowe, 2 EBC 1907 (D. Mass. 1981). Addresses the ability to remove a pension plan trustee.
  • Hurd v. Hutnik, 419 F. Supp. 630 (D.N.J. 1976). The first termination of a multiemployer plan under ERISA.