In April, the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals found that the
termination premiums created by the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 did not
constitute a claim that could be discharged in bankruptcy. The act requires employers
who terminate their plans in bankruptcy to pay the PBGC $1,250 per participant
per year for three years.
In arguments before the appellate court, James Eggeman,
an attorney representing the PBGC, said Congress had
intended the law to shore up the finances of the PBGC (see Court Hears Arguments on PBGC Plan Termination Fees). “Congress intended
this to be a post-(bankruptcy) obligation,” he said.
However, William Roll, an attorney representing Oneida Ltd., which filed the original challenge in U.S.
Bankruptcy Court, argued that the termination fee should be treated like any
other claim in bankruptcy and that Congress would have had to specifically
amend the U.S. bankruptcy code to exclude the fee from being treated as a
The Bankruptcy Court had sided with Oneida, but the PBGC
appealed the decision.