Cent. States SE & SW Areas Pension Fund v. Nagy, No. 11-3055 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Central States is a multiemployer pension plan for members of the Teamsters union in the eastern half of the U.S. Ready Mix employed Teamsters labor and participated in the Central States plan. In 2007 Ready Mix ceased employing covered workers and incurred $3.6 million in withdrawal liability to fully fund its pension obligations. Two affiliated companies under common control by Nagy, the owner of Ready Mix, conceded liability for the shortfall under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, as amended by the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980, 29 U.S.C. 1301(b)(1). The district court concluded that Nagy held and leased property to Ready Mix as a passive investment, not a trade or business, so the leasing activity did not trigger personal liability, but that Nagy’s work as a manager for a country club was as an independent contractor, not an employee, and this activity qualified as a trade or business under section 1301(b)(1), which was enough for personal liability. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, holding that Nagy’s leasing activity is categorically a trade or business for purposes of personal liability under 1301(b)(1).