- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: ERISA
- Date Filed: 10-28-2022
- Case #: 21-55864; 21-55923
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Nelson, C.J., for the Court; Smith, C.J.; & Gershwin, D.J.
- Full Text Opinion
Respondent was assessed both “partial” and “complete withdrawal” liability, under the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980, based on an interest rate not accounting for the future experience of the plan. 29 U.S.C. § 1383(a). Following arbitration, and district court review, both parties sought review. § 1401(b)(2). If the statutory text is construed such that a “partial” withdrawal always came after a “complete” withdrawal, Congress’ specification of two forms of withdrawal do not make sense. See TRW Inc. v. Andrews, 534 U.S. 19, 318 (2001) (courts presume Congress does not intend parts of statutes to be “superfluous, void, or insignificant.”). Other statutory provisions which account for resumption of contributions make this point even more clear, as they do not provide for the alternative scenario. §§ 1386, 1387. Actuaries must make “reasonable” assumptions which offer the actuary’s “best estimate” of “anticipated experience” under the plan. § 1393(a)(1). By using a rate which does not account for expected returns under the plan, it was not the “best estimate.” See United Mine Workers of Am. 1974 Pension Plan v. Energy W. Mining Co., 39 F.4th 730, 740 (D.C. Cir. 2022) (“[T]he discount rate assumption cannot be divorced from the plan’s anticipated investment returns.”). Partially affirmed, vacated, and remanded.