5500 Preparer's Manual for 2012 Plan Years
The premier resource in the field of Form 5500 preparation, 5500 Preparer's Manual will help you handle the required annual Form 5500 filings for both pension benefits and welfare benefit plans.
A company owner and a supervisor were not ERISA fiduciaries and therefore could not be personally liable for unpaid contributions to a union’s pension and welfare funds, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati (CA-6) has ruled.
A union’s pension and welfare funds filed suit against a company, the company owner and a company supervisor alleging the company had failed to make contributions to the plans as required by a collective bargaining agreement. The funds alleged several causes of action, including breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA, as well as breach of trust. The district court granted summary judgment to the individual defendants, on the grounds that the unpaid contributions did not constitute plan assets and the individuals were not fiduciaries under ERISA.
Definition of fiduciary
In a per curiam opinion, the appellate court declined to reach the question of whether the unpaid contributions were plan assets. Even if they were, the company owner and supervisor were not ERISA fiduciaries and thus could not be personally liable. The individuals were not defined as fiduciaries in any plan documents. Custody or control over a plan’s assets does not automatically lead to status as a fiduciary. The court noted that the breach of fiduciary claim was essentially the funds’ attempt to recharacterize their other claims, including the breach of trust claim, as an ERISA claim.
Source: Sheet Metal Local 98 Pension Fund v. Airtab, Inc. (CA-6).
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