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TRUSTEES OF THE AMALGAMATED INS. FUND v. SHELDON H

January 12, 1988

Trustees of the Amalgamated Insurance Fund, Plaintiffs
v.
Sheldon Hall Clothing, Inc.; Sheldon Mehrman, t/a Meyer D. Mehrman & Son; and Sheldon Mehrman, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: TROUTMAN

 TROUTMAN, S.J.

 The plaintiff instituted this action on December 18, 1984, pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), as amended by the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 ("MPPAA") (hereinafter simply "ERISA"), Pub.L. 93-406, 88 Stat. 832 (codified as amended in scattered sections of 26 and 29 U.S.C.), seeking to recover monies allegedly due it as a result of the defendants withdrawal from the Fund. Specifically, the plaintiff seeks to recover what it calculates to be the defendants' "withdrawal liability" pursuant to Sections 4201 through 4219 of ERISA, 29 U.S.C.A. §§ 1381-1399 (West 1985). The defendants interposed a variety of objections to the plaintiff's claim. Because of perceived disputed issues of material fact, the matter was tried before this Court sitting without a jury. The following discussion constitutes our Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a).

 At the beginning of the trial of this matter, the parties presented a joint stipulation of facts which was read into the record. The stipulated facts may be summarized as follows:

 
1. The plaintiff, by and through its Deputy Plan Administrator, Richard S. Burker, gave notice of withdrawal liability and demand for payment upon "Sheldon Mehrman, President of Sheldon Hall Clothing, Inc./Meyer D. Mehrman", by letter dated December 28, 1981. (See Joint Exhibit # 1.);
 
2. The defendants made a timely request for review of the aforesaid withdrawal liability assessment pursuant to 29 U.S.C.A. § 1399(b)(2)(A)(i) by letter dated February 18, 1982, sent to Mr. Richard S. Burker, certified mail, return receipt requested, which was accepted by the said Richard S. Burker on February 22, 1982. (See Joint Exhibit # 2.);
 
3. The Deputy Plan Administrator for the plaintiff responded to the defendants' request for review by letter dated March 25, 1982. (See Joint Exhibit # 3.);
 
4. On January 15, 1982, the plaintiff's Deputy Plan Administrator, Richard S. Burker, made demand on Sheldon Mehrman, as president of Sheldon Hall Clothing, Inc./Meyer D. Mehrman, for the payment of withdrawal liability assessed by the plaintiff's calculation in the amount of $ 238,198.75, payable in quarterly installments of $ 7,189.92. (See Joint Exhibit # 4.);
 
5. In order to enforce the aforesaid calculation of withdrawal liability against Sheldon Hall Clothing, Inc., and Meyer D. Mehrman, plaintiff demanded an arbitration at 77 Broadway, New York, New York, on September 20, 1983, (see Joint Exhibit # 5), wherein the arbitrator noted appearences as follows: for petitioners (i.e., the plaintiff Fund), Mark Schwartz, Esq.; for respondents, David C. Schattenstein, Esq., and Meyer D. Mehrman, (see Joint Exhibit # 6); *fn1"
 
6. Sheldon Mehrman did appear at the arbitration hearing with his counsel, David Schattenstein, Esq.;
 
7. The arbitrator of the aforesaid arbitration, Millard Cass, rendered findings and an award against both Sheldon Hall Clothing, Inc. (hereinafter simply "SHC"), and Meyer D. Mehrman, on October 27, 1983, awarding the plaintiff: (1) $ 238,198.75 by way of withdrawal liability; (2) $ 9,719.35 by way of interest and liquidated damages under § 4301 of ERISA, together with interest from the date of hearing until the date of payment; (3) the sum of $ 50.00 for arbiter's fees and costs; and (4) the sum of $ 100.00 for legal fees, for a total award of $ 248,218.10.
 
8. At the time of the award, SHC was a Pennsylvania corporation with its principal place of business at 418 N. Franklin St., Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, with its sole shareholder and president as Sheldon Mehrman;
 
9. On or about October 1981, Sheldon Mehrman operated a sole proprietorship under the name of Meyer D. Mehrman & Son; and
 
10. Plaintiffs are the sponsors of a multiemployer benefit retirement plan within ...

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