Defendants-appellants ILGWU National Retirement Fund, Jay Mazur and Joseph Moore (collectively the "Fund") appeal from judgments of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Conboy, J.) awarding attorney's fees to plaintiffs-appellees Anita Foundations, Inc., et al. and Fashion Affiliates, Inc. (collectively the "Employers") under the fee-shifting provision of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001-1461 (1982 & Supp. V 1987), as amended by the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act (MPPAA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1381-1453 (1982 & Supp. V 1987). The district court determined that the Fund's claims for payment of withdrawal liability from the Employers was barred by prior settlement agreements. It awarded attorney's fees to the Employers pursuant to the fee-shifting provision of the MPPAA, 29 U.S.C. § 1451(e), as prevailing parties in these declaratory actions brought to determine their withdrawal liability.
On appeal, the Fund contends that the fiduciary duty it owed to employees/beneficiaries required it to pursue claims for additional withdrawal liability payments as the consequence of a decision in the Ninth Circuit, despite the settlement agreements entered into earlier. However, the Fund does not appeal from so much of the judgment as rejects this contention. It asserts only that the fee awards were an improper exercise of the district court's discretionary powers under section 1451(e). It also maintains that the fee award in the Anita Foundations action was excessive. We find that the Fund asserted its claims in defiance of the public policy favoring settlement agreements and therefore conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion by assessing attorney's fees against it. We also determine that the fee award in the Anita Foundations action was not excessive. Accordingly, we affirm.
Miner, Roger J., "Anita Foundations v. ILGWU Nat. Retirement Fund, 902 F. 2d 185 - Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit 1990" (1990). Circuit Court Opinions. 258.