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New York Times Co. v. Newspaper & Mail Deliverers'-Publishers' Pension Fund

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

March 26, 2018, Decided; March 26, 2018, Filed

17 Civ. 6178; 17 Civ. 6290

Opinion

 [*240]  OPINION and ORDER

Sweet, D.J.

In these consolidated actions, The New York Times Company (the "Times") and the Newspaper and Mail Deliverers'—Publishers' Pension Fund and Board of Trustees of the Newspaper and Mail Deliverers'—Publishers' Pension Fund (together, the "Fund") have cross-moved for summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 on their respective requests to modify or vacate the arbitration award (the "Award") issued by assigned arbitrator Mark L. Irvings (the "Arbitrator") in American Arbitration Association ("AAA") Case No. 01-14-1433 on July 19, 2017, pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et seq., as amended by the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendment Act of 1980 ("MPPAA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1381, et seq.

The dispute arises out of a carefully-negotiated multiemployer collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") that governs certain aspects of the Newspaper and Mail Deliverers'—Publishers' [**2]  Pension Fund applicable to many newspapers in New York City. The instant motions present a veritable Augean Stables of issues to be resolved, a cavalcade of sharp disputes that have been distilled down by the parties and their skilled counsel to four principal issues. Put simply, these issues are: (1) whether the Times incurred liability by partially withdrawing from the Fund for plan years ending May 31, 2012, and May 31, 2013; (2) whether the discount rate used by the Fund when assessing the Times' withdrawal liability was appropriate; (3) whether the Fund applied the proper statutory procedure to calculate liability for the second partial withdrawal; and (4) whether and to what extent the Times is entitled to interest on the repayment of overpaid withdrawal liability.

Based on the conclusions set forth below, the motions are determined as follows. First, the Times incurred withdrawal liability, and the Arbitrator's finding that the CBA's contribution base unit under 29 U.S.C. § 1301(a)(11) ("CBU") was shifts has not been rebutted. Second, the Fund's use of the Segal Blend rate when assessing the Times' withdrawal liability was, in this instance, improper, and the Arbitrator's finding to the contrary is [**3]  reversed. Third, the Fund's calculation of the Times' second partial liability was improper. Lastly, the Arbitrator correctly determined that the Times was entitled to interest on overpaid withdrawal liability, and his conclusion as to the applicable interest rate has not been rebutted.

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303 F. Supp. 3d 236 *; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49813 **; 2018 WL 1517201

THE NEW YORK TIMES COMPANY, Plaintiff, -against- NEWSPAPER AND MAIL DELIVERERS'-PUBLISHERS' PENSION FUND, Defendant.NEWSPAPER AND MAIL DELIVERERS'-PUBLISHERS' PENSION FUND AND THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE NEWSPAPER AND MAIL DELIVERERS'-PUBLISHERS' PENSION FUND, Plaintiffs, -against- THE NEW YORK TIMES COMPANY, Defendant.

Subsequent History: Appeal terminated, 10/16/2019

CORE TERMS

withdrawal, Arbitrator, partial, calculated, Blend, actuarial, Interim, pension, overpayments, ambiguity, estimate, anti-inurement, anticipated, vested, unambiguous, sponsor, delinquent, multiplied, withdrawn, fraction, overpaid, unfunded, payroll, multiemployer, preponderance, repayments, deference, extrinsic, superfluous, Newspaper