The opinion of the court was delivered by: Andrew J. Guilford United States District Judge
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
This case concerns the Sunkist Retirement Plan ("Plan"). Plaintiff and Counter Defendant Plan Board of Sunkist Retirement Plan ("Plaintiff") seeks to collect withdrawal liability contribution under the Plan from Defendant and Counter Claimant Harding & Leggett, Inc. ("Defendant"). Defendant seeks reimbursement from Plaintiff in its Counterclaim for overpayment of a withdrawal liability contribution under the Plan.
After reviewing the evidence and evaluating the credibility of the witnesses and other evidence, the Court makes the following findings of fact, including any findings of fact found in the Conclusions of Law.
1. The following facts are admitted and require no proof: 1.1 The Plan is a multiple-employer pension benefit plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001 et seq. ("ERISA").
1.2 Plaintiff is the board established and appointed under the Plan to administer the Plan.
1.3 Defendant began as a contributing employer to the Plan in 1970.
1.4 Defendant sent notice to the Plan Administrator in December 2004 of its intention to withdraw from the Plan effective March 31, 2005.
1.5 In 2005, Plaintiff assessed Defendant withdrawal liability in the amount of $1,248,072.
1.6 In 2005, Defendant made a payment to the Plan of $800,000.
2. This is an action under ERISA. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, Federal District Courts have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the laws of the United States. Venue is proper in this Court under Section 502(e)(2) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(e)(2), because the Plan is administered in part in the Central District of California. The facts requisite to federal jurisdiction are admitted.
3. In 1997, the Plan was amended to provide an enhanced benefit for participants who experience a "job elimination."
4. In 2002, the Plan document was restated with the intention of incorporating all amendments to the Plan through January 2002. In the drafting of the 2002 Restatement, the 1997 Amendment was inadvertently left out of the Plan document.
5. There was never a vote or other action to remove the job elimination benefit, and the Plan has continued to provide it, after 2002, to participants who qualify. The language establishing the job elimination benefit was restored to the Plan document in 2005. At least one ...