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BUSCHING-KAPOCHUNAS FINAL

2/4/2009 1:59:19 AM

624

HOFSTRA LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW JOURNAL

[Vol. 25:601

commerce and other federal interests.160 The primary purpose of ERISA was to remedy defects in the private retirement system which threatened

individual

pension

and

benefits

rights.161

Congress

wanted

to

ensure

that: “1) employees [were] not benefits by termination of pension

deprived of plans before

anticipated retirement sufficient funds [were]

accumulated”;162 2) plans by providing

employers were encouraged to establish pension favorable tax treatment for plans which complied

with ERISA requirements;163 and “3) discrimination in retirement against people who were self-employed was eliminated.” 164

laws

The employee benefit within Section 1003(a). 165

plans regulated These include

by ERISA are described any “benefit plan that is

established or maintained any industry or activity

by any employer engaged in commerce or in affecting commerce,”166 or “any employee

organization(s) representing employees engaged industry or activity affecting commerce.”167 The that are exempted from ERISA regulation are 1003(b) and include:

in commerce or in any employee benefit plans enumerated in Section

(1) []governmental plans, (2) []church plans, (3) [any] plan that is maintained solely for the purpose of complying with workmen’s compensation or disability insurance laws, (4) [any] plan that is maintained outside of the United States primarily for the benefit of persons who are nonresident aliens, and (5) [any] plan which is an excess benefit plan and is unfunded. 168

To achieve uniform ERISA application to all employee benefit p l a n s , C o n g r e s s i n c l u d e d a p r e e m p t i o n c l a u s e s o t h a t i n d i v i d u a l l y p a s s e d

state laws could not circumvent the legislation.169

That preemption

clause, Section 1144(a), states that “the provisions of [ERISA] shall

160. John F. Wagner, Annotation, Construction and Application of Preemption Exemption, Under Employee Retirement Income Security Act (29 U.S.C.S. § 1001 et seq.), For State Laws Regulating Insurance, Banking, or Securities (29 U.S.C.S. § 1144(b)(2)), 87 A.L.R. FED. 409

  • (1988)

    .

    • 161.

      70 C.J.S. Pensions § 13 (2006).

    • 162.

      Pension Benefits Guar. Corp. v. R.A. Gray & Co., 467 U.S. 717, 720 (1984) (citing

Nachman Corp. v. Pension Benefit Guar. Corp., 446 U.S. 359, 361-62, 374-75 (1980)).

    • 163.

      Gillis v. Hoechst Celanese Corp., 4 F.3d 1137, 1145 n.6 (3d Cir. 1993).

    • 164.

      See Commercial Mortgage Ins. Inc. v. Citizens Nat’l Bank of Dallas, 526 F. Supp. 510

  • (1981)

    .

    • 165.

      Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. § 1003(a) (2001).

    • 166.

      29 U.S.C. §1003(a)(1) (2001 & Supp. 2007).

    • 167.

      § 1003(a)(2).

    • 168.

      § 1003(b)(1)-(5).

    • 169.

      See 29 U.S.C.A. § 1144(a) (West 1998).

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