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GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund v. Quad/Graphics, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

December 7, 2018

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.

          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. ...


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