Central States Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund v. Messina Products, LLC

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Case Number: 
Nos. 11-3513 & 12-1333 Cons.
Decision Date: 
February 8, 2013
Federal District: 
N.D. Ill., E. Div.
Affirmed and reversed in part and remanded
In action alleging that employer and related entities owed $3.1 million in withdrawal liability when employer (Messina Trucking) permanently ceased to have obligation to contribute to multiemployer pension fund, Dist. Ct. erred in finding that owners of Messina Trucking, who also owned and leased several residential properties adjacent to Messina Trucking, as well as leased property from which Messina Trucking conducted its operations, were not engaged in “trade or business” that would have rendered owners jointly liable for withdrawal liability incurred by Messina Trucking. While Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act does not impose liability for withdrawing employers on purely passive investment entities, under SCOFBP, 668 F.3d 873, instant leasing of property to Messina Trucking by owners of Messina Trucking constituted “trade or business” that subjected said owners to withdrawal liability incurred by Messina Trucking.