Cases & Deals

C&S Wholesale Grocers defeats pension liability claims on appeal

Clients C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc.

In an important new precedent on withdrawal liability under ERISA, the Second Circuit unanimously affirmed in full a judgment in favor of Jones Day's client, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. The pension fund had sought to tag C&S with over $58 million in withdrawal liability triggered by the Penn Traffic Corporation, which in 2010 liquidated in bankruptcy. At the motion to dismiss stage, Jones Day succeeded in defeating three of the fund's four claims, and prevailed on the final claim at summary judgment. Following oral argument in May 2021, a Second Circuit panel affirmed both rulings. In doing so, the court adopted Jones Day's positions on a number of recurring legal issues under ERISA, including the scope of liability under the statute's "evade or avoid" provision, the test for "common control" liability, and the framework for evaluating successor liability.

NY State Teamsters Conf. Pension & Ret. Fund v. C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., No. 20-1185 (2d Cir.)