First Circuit Holds that Private Equity Fund May Be Liable for Unfunded Pension Obligations of Portfolio Company

Private equity funds often exercise significant management control over, and effect changes to management and operations of, portfolio companies.  On July 24, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that, as a result of those “hands on” activities, a private equity fund may constitute a “trade or business” within the meaning of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended by the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendment Act of 1980.  As such, a private equity fund could potentially face liability for the unfunded pension obligations of a portfolio company.

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