In Re: Marcal Paper Mills, Inc, , No. 09-4574 (3d Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
The company filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition and continued to make payments to pension plans, as required by collective bargaining agreements. When the company was sold and it no longer employed individuals covered by the plans, the pension fund filed a claim for $5,890,128 (withdrawal liability) and requested that the claim be classified as an administrative expense. The bankruptcy court classified the claim as unsecured debt. The district court reversed and remanded, holding that the portion of withdrawal liability attributable to the post-petition period was entitled to priority. The Third Circuit affirmed. If entire withdrawal liability were automatically classified as a general unsecured claim, it would undercut the purpose of the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act, 29 U.S.C. 1381, amendment to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act: to secure the finances of pension funds and prevent an employer's withdrawal from negatively affecting the plan and its employee beneficiaries.