United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
RICHARD J. SULLIVAN. District Judge
before the Court is Petitioner Structure Tone's motion to
vacate an arbitration award (the "Award") entered
in favor of Respondent the New York City District Council of
Carpenters Pension Fund (the -'Fund"). (Doc. No.
21.) For the reasons set forth below, the motion is DENIED.
dispute concerns the Employee Retirement Income Security Act
of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et
seq., which regulates private pension funds and, as
amended by the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of
1980 O"MPPAA"), contains specific provisions
relating to multiemployer pension plans. See 29
U.S.C. §§ 1002(37)(A), 1381-1453. As indicated by
its title, a multiemployer pension plan is a pension plan to
which multiple employers contribute pursuant to one or more
collective bargaining agreements. See Id.
§1002(37)(A). In order to ensure that an employer's
exit from a multiemployer plan does not undermine the
plan's finances and place an undue burden on the
employers remaining in the plan, the MPPAA created a regime
of withdrawal liability. Specifically, if an employer
withdraws from a multiemployer plan, that employer is
assessed "withdrawal liability, " calculated to
equal that employer's portion of the plan's unfunded
pension benefits. See Id. §§ 1381, 1391.
issue here is whether Petitioner "withdrew" from
the Fund. Generally, a withdrawal occurs "when an
employer (1) permanently ceases to have an obligation to
contribute under the plan, or (2) permanently ceases all
covered operations under the plan." 29 U.S.C. §
1383(a).However, while that provision applies to
most employers, Congress created a special withdrawal scheme
for employers engaged in the "building and construction
industry.*' That provision, commonly referred to as the
"construction industry exemption/" effectively
imposes withdrawal liability on employers in the building and
construction industry only if:
(A) an employer ceases to have an obligation to contribute
under the plan, and
(B) the employer -
(i) continues to perform work in the jurisdiction of the
collective bargaining agreement of the type for which
contributions were previously required, or
(ii) resumes such work within 5 years after the date on which
the obligation to contribute under the plan ceases, and does
not renew the obligation at the time of the resumption.
29 U.S.C. § 1383(b)(2).
MPPAA provides that when an employer withdraws from a
multiemployer plan, the pension fund serving as the plan
sponsor is responsible for determining the amount of
withdrawal liability owed and collecting it. See Id.
§ 1382. If the employer disagrees with the plan
sponsor's assessment, the employer must first submit the
dispute to arbitration. See Id. § 1401. After
arbitration, a party can bring an action in district court to
enforce, vacate, or modify the arbitration award. See
Id. §§ 1401, 1451.
is a New York corporation involved in the construction
industry as a general contractor and construction management
firm. (Pet. ¶ 3; Pet. Decl., Ex. J at 3.)
The Fund is a multiemployer pension benefit plan as defined
by ERISA, see 29 U.S.C. §§ 1002(3),
1002(37)(A), and Respondent David Stewart is the ...