Employers Ignore Notice at Their Peril
A multiemployer pension fund sought relief from an employer, its owners, and related businesses to collect withdrawal liability incurred under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). After the employer had ceased operations and ended its pension contributions, the fund assessed withdrawal liability of $640,900 under ERISA. Some defendants ignored the fund’s notices and failed to arbitrate any defense to plaintiff’s ability to collect the withdrawal liability. Such actions precluded these defendants from raising any defense in the action. The Seventh Circuit held the fund’s notice of withdrawal liability did not violate defendants' due process rights and found in favor of the fund. Each defendant was a trade or business under common control with another party who received the notice and was liable under ERISA’s controlled group provision. As such, each was jointly and severally liable for payment.