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Tuesday, November 27, 2012
The employer mistakenly paid the
contributions to the funds for work performed by its employees on projects that
were outside the jurisdiction of the applicable collective bargaining
agreement. The employer ceased making any CBA-required contributions after the
funds determined that the employer was not entitled to credit for the
The funds filed a lawsuit in the
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in November 2010,
seeking to recover unpaid and untimely contributions under ERISA Section
502(g)(2). Park-Mark argued that a setoff should be applied to any recovery the
funds received and later included a counterclaim seeking restitution. The funds
later moved for summary judgment.
In November 2011, the district court
recognized that a federal common-law cause of action exists for overpayments
mistakenly made under ERISA but determined that “equity did not demand a
refund” of Park-Mark's overpayment and Park-Mark appealed.
Judge Bobby E. Shepherd, writing for
the court, determined that the employer demonstrated that it mistakenly made
the overpayments but failed to demonstrate that restitution was equitable.
The appeals court concluded that
equity did not favor refunding Park-Mark's overpayments and affirmed the
district court decision.
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