Report: DoL Ready to Sue Over Northwest Airlines Documents

March 6, 2006 ( - Northwest Airlines has turned to a US Bankruptcy judge to block government investigators from getting documents about its pension plans, its business reorganization and general operations.

Bloomberg reported that the documents being sought are part of an investigation to determine whether there has been a violation or is about to be a violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), according to a US Department of Labor (DoL) subpoena.

Northwest, which sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September, didn’t make $142 million in pension contributions due last year, according to a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing in November.

The DoL first subpoenaed the information January 9 and threatened to “commence litigation to enforce the subpoena” on February 27, the Eagan-based airline said.

Northwest is willing to cooperate as long as the two parties sign a confidentiality agreement, according to the filing in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.