Supreme Court to Hear Worker Benefit Plan Case

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether federal law requires mulitemployer benefit plans to transfer money to new funds set up by employers who pull out.

The court said it will use a case from New York City to rule on the issue, and its decision could affect millions of workers covered by such benefit plans nationwide.

A New Yorksed federal appeals court ruled that federal labor law requires such transfers, but the justices were told a federal appeals court in Chicago has reached the opposite conclusion.

The high court's decision is expected sometime in 1993.

Asked for its views by the court, the Bush administration said the New Yorksed court misinterpreted federal labor law's dictates and urged the justices to review the issue.

In other businesslated decisions, the court: Left intact a ruling that said U.S. banks with branch offices overseas must pay depositors when foreign governments freeze those accounts. Billions of dollars potentially are at stake. The court rejected an appeal by Citibank, which was ordered to pay a depositor whose account was frozen by the Philippines government of the late Ferdinand Marcos. Refused to revive an investor lawsuit accusing Continental Bank Corp. of fraud and racketeering stemming from oil and gas exploration loans made in 1979 through 1981. Without comment, the court let stand a ruling that threw out some $9 million in damages awarded to the investors. Refused to bar states from withholding unemployment benefits from workers who quit their jobs to relocate with their spouses. The justices rejected arguments that such a Virginia law unlawfully discriminates against women. Over 85 percent of the workers declared ineligible for benefits under the Virginia law are women. Refused to let Kaiser Steel Resources Inc. retrieve $162 million it paid to shareholders in a 1984 leveraged buyout. The justices let stand rulings that said Kaiser, which reorganized under federal bankruptcy law in 1987, may not recoup the money to pay its creditors. Let stand a ruling that Indian tribes may tax railroad property located on their reservations. The court, over one dissenting vote, rejected a challenge by Burlington Northern Railroad to taxes imposed by three tribes in Montana. …

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