Multiemployer Pension Plan Withdrawal: An In-Depth Examination

Strategies for Minimizing Liability and Challenging Assessments

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will provide counsel to employers that contribute to multiemployer pension plans with an in-depth examination of several recent trends related to multiemployer plan withdrawal liability. The panel will outline recent developments in withdrawal liability litigation, tips for handling withdrawal liability issues in corporate transactions, and developments related to the assessment of withdrawal liability which resulted from the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014. We will also discuss two pool arrangements being implemented by several pension funds.


Employers that contribute to underfunded multiemployer pension plans face significant assessments if they seek to completely withdraw from such plans. Further, corporate transactions—mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and facility closures—can all result in triggering a partial or complete withdrawal liability assessment. Adding to that risk, under ERISA each member of a controlled group is jointly and severally responsible for withdrawal liability.

Recent developments in litigation of withdrawal liability disputes are instructive for employers and their counsel, including recent cases from the Seventh and Ninth Circuits, which clarify and, in some aspects, expand the doctrine of successor liability in the context of employer withdrawal liability. Funds are developing aggressive litigation strategies to leverage these recent decisions.

Although the MPRA offers opportunities to help severely stressed plans regain their financial footing by reducing participant benefits in certain circumstances, MPRA also made several important changes to the calculation and assessment of withdrawal liability, which can also impact corporate decision making and collective bargaining strategy.

Listen as our authoritative panel shares their experiences with multiemployer pension plans and explains how these recent developments can impact liability and litigation strategy for contributing employers.



  1. Overview of multiemployer pension plans
  2. Partial and complete withdrawals
  3. Controlled group and successor liability
  4. Developing issues under MPRA
  5. Collective bargaining
  6. Two pool plan design changes
  7. Arbitration and settlement strategies


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How can employers address collective bargaining in the context of potential pension liabilities?
  • How should employers respond to a critical status/surcharge notice from a multiemployer pension plan?
  • How can employers assess and deal with potential withdrawal liability exposure in both the sort term and long term?


Hubbell, Angela
Angela Marie Hubbell

Quarles & Brady

Ms. Hubbell Co-Chairs the firm's ERISA Litigation Practice and has significant benefits and employment litigation...  |  Read More

Spangler, Patrick
Patrick W. Spangler

Vedder Price

Mr. Spangler works with in-house counsel and management to provide advice related to litigation, major business...  |  Read More

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