GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund v. Quad/Graphics, Inc., 120718 FED9, 17-55667

Docket Nº:17-55667
Opinion Judge:HURWITZ, CIRCUIT JUDGE:
Party Name:GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund; Board of Trustees of the GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund, Plaintiffs-Counter-Defendants-Appellees, v. Quad/Graphics, Inc., Defendant-Counter-Plaintiff-Appellant.
Attorney:Mark Casciari (argued), Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Chicago, Illinois; Kiran A. Seldon, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Los Angeles, California; for Defendant-Counter-Plaintiff-Appellant. Anthony T. Ditty (argued), Law Offices of Anthony T. Ditty, Escondido, California; Valentina S. Mindirgasova, Cornwell & Baldwin, E...
Judge Panel:Before: Andrew D. Hurwitz and John B. Owens, Circuit Judges, and Gregory A. Presnell District Judge.
Case Date:December 07, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund; Board of Trustees of the GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund, Plaintiffs-Counter-Defendants-Appellees,

v.

Quad/Graphics, Inc., Defendant-Counter-Plaintiff-Appellant.

No. 17-55667

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

December 7, 2018

Argued and Submitted October 10, 2018 Pasadena, California

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Nos. 2:16-cv-03391-ODW-AFM, 2:16-cv-03418-ODW-AFM Otis D. Wright II, District Judge, Presiding

Mark Casciari (argued), Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Chicago, Illinois; Kiran A. Seldon, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Los Angeles, California; for Defendant-Counter-Plaintiff-Appellant.

Anthony T. Ditty (argued), Law Offices of Anthony T. Ditty, Escondido, California; Valentina S. Mindirgasova, Cornwell & Baldwin, Escondido, California; for Plaintiffs-Counter-Defendants-Appellees.

Before: Andrew D. Hurwitz and John B. Owens, Circuit Judges, and Gregory A. Presnell, [*] District Judge.

SUMMARY[**]

Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act

The panel affirmed the district court's judgment against an employer in an action brought under the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980.

The employer withdrew from a multiemployer pension plan after its employees voted to decertify a union as their bargaining representative. Under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement with the union, the employer had been required to contribute to the plan. At issue was whether the plan correctly calculated the employer's withdrawal liability under the MPPAA. Reviewing an arbitrator's decision de novo, the district court concluded that the plan's calculation was correct.

Affirming, the panel held that the plan correctly applied a credit for a prior partial withdrawal under 29 U.S.C. § 1386(b) against the employer's complete withdrawal before calculating the twenty-year limitation on annual payments provided for in 29 U.S.C. § 1399(c)(1)(B).

The panel addressed other issues in a concurrently-filed memorandum disposition.

OPINION

HURWITZ, CIRCUIT JUDGE:

Under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") with the Graphic Communications Conference, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 826-C (the "Union"), Quad/Graphics, Inc. ("Quad") was required to contribute to a multiemployer pension plan, the GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund ("the Fund"). After the last of Quad's employees voted to decertify the Union as their bargaining representative in 2011, Quad completely withdrew from the Fund.

The Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 ("MPPAA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1381-1405, imposes liability on employers withdrawing from pension plans. The issue in this case is whether, in calculating Quad's withdrawal liability, the Fund correctly applied a credit for a prior partial withdrawal. The district court held that the Fund correctly applied the partial withdrawal credit set forth in 29 U.S.C. § 1386(b) against Quad's complete withdrawal liability before calculating the twenty-year limitation on annual payments provided for in 29 U.S.C. § 1399(c)(1)(B). We agree, and affirm.

I. Background.

A. The MPPAA.

The MPPAA creates a disincentive for employers to withdraw from multiemployer pension plans. Milwaukee Brewery Workers' Pension Plan v. Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co., 513 U.S. 414, 416-17 (1995). It therefore imposes "withdrawal liability"-an "exit price equal to [the employer's] pro rata share of the pension plan's funding shortfall . . . distinct from the contributions required to be made by the plan agreements." Carpenters Pension Tr. Fund for N. Cal. v. Moxley, 734 F.3d 864, 870 (9th Cir. 2013) (alteration in original)...

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