[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 56 (Wednesday, March 23, 2016)]
[Pages 15578-15579]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-06565]



Pendency of Request for Approval of Alternative Arbitration 
Procedure; American Arbitration Association

AGENCY: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

ACTION: Notice of pendency of request.


SUMMARY: This notice advises interested persons that the Pension 
Benefit Guaranty Corporation (``PBGC'') has received a request from the 
American Arbitration Association (``AAA'') for approval of an 
Alternative Arbitration Procedure under section 4221 of the Employee 
Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, and 29 CFR 4221.14. 
The purpose of this notice is to advise interested persons of the AAA 
application for approval and solicit their views on it.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 23, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the Web site instructions for submitting comments.
     Email: [email protected].
     Fax: 202-326-4224.
     Mail or Hand Delivery: Regulatory Affairs Group, Office of 
the General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K 
Street NW., Washington, DC 20005-4026.
    Comments received, including personal information provided, will be 
posted to www.pbgc.gov. Copies of comments and non-confidential 
portions of the request may be obtained by writing to Disclosure 
Division, Office of the General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty 
Corporation, 1200 K Street NW., Washington, DC 20005-4026 or calling 
202-326-4040 during normal business hours. (TTY and TDD users may call 
the Federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask to be 
connected to 202-326-4040.)

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bruce Perlin ([email protected]), 
202-326-4020, ext. 6818 or Jon Chatalian ([email protected]), ext. 
6757, Office of the Chief Counsel, Suite 340, 1200 K Street NW., 
Washington, DC 20005-4026; (TTY/TDD users may call the Federal relay 
service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to 202-326-



    The Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 (``MPPAA'') 
requires ``any dispute'' between an employer and a multiemployer 
pension plan concerning a withdrawal liability determination to be 
``resolved through arbitration.'' ERISA Sec.  4221(a)(1). Under the 
MPPAA, an employer has 90 days after receipt of notice of a withdrawal 
liability assessment to request review of that assessment. ERISA Sec.  
4219(b)(2)(A). If there remains a dispute about the assessment of 
withdrawal liability, the employer may ``initiate'' arbitration of the 
dispute within a 60-day period after the earlier of (i) the date the 
employer was notified of the plan's response to the employer's request 
for review, or (ii) 120 days after the date that the employer requested 
review of the withdrawal liability. ERISA Sec.  4221(a)(1). If the 
employer fails to timely initiate arbitration, the assessment becomes 
due and owing and the plan sponsor may bring an action in a state or 
federal court to collect the assessment. ERISA Sec.  4221(b).
    The MPPAA directed PBGC to promulgate fair and equitable procedures 
for the conduct of an arbitration under ERISA Sec.  4221. PBGC's 
implementing regulations (29 CFR part 4221) were designed to provide 
procedures to facilitate prompt resolution of disputes by an impartial 
arbitrator, facilitating expeditious resolutions of disputes concerning 
an employer's withdrawal liability. PBGC's default arbitration 
procedures provide rules for the appointment and powers of the 
arbitrator, rules for discovery and hearings, and rules for awards, 
costs, filing and service (Sec. Sec.  4221.4-4221.13).

Scope of Alternative Arbitration Procedures

    In lieu of the default procedures, under 29 CFR 4221.14, an 
arbitration may be conducted in accordance with an alternative 
arbitration procedure approved by the PBGC in accordance with Sec.  
4221.14(c). Certain rules applicable to the default procedures cannot 
be varied in any alternative procedure. 29 CFR 4221.14(b). If an 
arbitration is conducted under a PBGC-approved alternative procedure, 
the alternative procedure governs all aspects of the arbitration, with 
the following exceptions provided in 4221.14(b): The time limits for 
initiating arbitration may not differ from the time limits provided 
4221.3; the arbitrator must be selected after the initiation of 
arbitration; the arbitrator must give the parties an opportunity for 
prehearing discovery that is substantially equivalent to that required 
by Sec.  4221.5(a)(2); copies of the award must be made available to 
the public at least to the extent mandated by Sec.  4221.8(g); and the 
arbitration costs must be allocated in accordance with Sec.  4221.10.

Process for Approval of Alternative Arbitration Procedures

    Under Sec.  4221.14(c), PBGC may approve alternative arbitration 
procedures on its own initiative by publishing an appropriate notice in 
the Federal Register. Additionally, the sponsor of an arbitration 
procedure may request PBGC approval of its procedures by submitting an 
application to the PBGC. The application must include: (1) A copy of 
the procedures for which approval is sought; (2) a description of the 
history, structure and membership of the organization that sponsors the 
procedures; and (3) a description of the reasons why, in the sponsoring 
organization's opinion, the procedures satisfy the criteria for 
approval set forth in this section.

Criteria for Approval of Alternative Procedures

    Under 4221.21(d), PBGC shall approve an application if it 
determines that the proposed procedures will be substantially fair to 
all parties involved in the arbitration of a withdrawal liability 
dispute and that the sponsoring organization is neutral and able to 
carry out its role under the procedures. PBGC may request comments on 
the application by publishing an appropriate notice in the Federal

[[Page 15579]]

Register and notice of PBGC's decision on the application shall be 
published in the Federal Register. Unless the notice of approval 
specifies otherwise, approval will remain effective until revoked by 
the PBGC through a Federal Register notice.

AAA's Alternative Arbitration Rules--1981 & 1986 MPPAR

    In 1985, on its own initiative, PBGC approved the 1981 
Multiemployer Pension Plan Arbitration Rules for Withdrawal Liability 
Disputes (the ``1981 MPPAR''), an alternative arbitration procedure 
sponsored by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and 
administered by AAA. 50 FR 38046 (Sept. 19, 1985). In 1986, PBGC 
approved AAA's request to use an amended MPPAR (the ``1986 MPPAR'') 
which eliminated certain procedural differences between the 1981 MPPAR 
and PBGC's final arbitration regulation. 51 FR 22585 (June 20, 1986). 
The administrative fee schedule for handling arbitrations in the 1986 
MPPAR was applicable until 2013, when AAA adopted an updated 2013 Fee 
Schedule, creating a revised MPPAR, effective February 1, 2013 (``2013 
MPPAR''). The new Administrative Fee Schedule provides for increases to 
the Initial Filing Fee, establishes two different fee arrangements--the 
Standard and Flexible Fee Schedules, and adds a ``Final Fee'' under 
each schedule and a ``Proceed Fee'' in the flexible schedule context. 
Other than significant changes to the Administrative Fee Schedule, the 
2013 MPPAR are identical to the 1986 MPPAR that PBGC previously 
approved. Under 4221.14, AAA has requested PBGC's approval of the 
updated 2013 Fee Schedule (the ``Application'').
    AAA's Application included the necessary information under 
4221.14(c): A copy of the 2013 Fee Schedule; a description of the 
history, structure and membership of AAA; and a discussion of the 
reasons why, in AAA's opinion, the 2013 Fee Schedule satisfies the 
criteria for PBGC approval under Sec.  4221.14(d).
    A copy of AAA's Application can be found at: http://www.pbgc.gov/prac/pg/other/guidance/multiemployer-notices.html.

Request for Comments

    All interested persons are invited to submit written comments on 
the pending Application request. All comments will be made part of the 
administrative record.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on this 15th day of March, 2016.
W. Thomas Reeder,
Director, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
[FR Doc. 2016-06565 Filed 3-22-16; 8:45 am]