KIFAFI v. HILTON HOTELS RETIREMENT PLAN Civil Action No. 98-1517 (CKK).
826 F.Supp.2d 55 (2011)
Jamal J. KIFAFI, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. HILTON HOTELS RETIREMENT PLAN, et al., Defendants.
United States District Court, District of Columbia.
December 2, 2011.
Stephen Robert Bruce , Allison C. Pienta , Stephen R. Bruce Law Offices, Washington, DC, for Plaintiff.
Jonathan K. Youngwood , Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, New York, NY, Andrew M. Lacy , Thomas C. Rice , Simpson, Thatcher & Bartlett, Washington, DC, for Defendants.
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, District Judge.
Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion for a Stay Pending Appeal and Request for Expedited Treatment.
On August 31, 2011, 826 F.Supp.2d 25, 2011 WL 3836455, the Court entered a final judgment in this case. See ECF No. . The Order, among other things, required Hilton to amend the Hilton Hotels Retirement Plan (the "Plan") to remedy violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001 et seq., specifically ERISA's anti-backloading provision, 29 U.S.C. § 1054(b)(1). Id. at 7. Pursuant to that order, Hilton was required to amend the Plan, and by no later than January 1, 2012, "award back payments and commence increased benefits for all class members." Id. at 9. Defendants' proposed plan amendment (ECF No. ) purported to utilize an effective date of the later of
Attach. 1, ECF No. , at 1-2. The Court rejected Defendants' attempt to circumvent
A. Temporary Stay
Plaintiff proposes temporarily staying certain portions of the Court's August 31, 2011, 826 F.Supp.2d 25, 2011 WL 3836455 Order regarding backloading so as to allow adequate time to brief Defendants' Motion. Curiously, Plaintiff's proposal would stay the effect of the Court's only through the briefing of the motion, and not the Court's decision. Defendants request that the stay be extended until thirty days after the Court rules on Defendants' motion. The Court agrees that a temporary stay would be beneficial, but that it should not expire before the Court renders its decisions. Although Defendants are only appealing the backloading issues, Defendants' Motion requests a broader stay, encompassing the payment of benefits to newly vested Plan participants under the Court's vesting orders. While the right of these newly vested Plan participants to receive benefits is not in question, the amount of benefits these individuals should receive may vary based on the resolution of the attorney's fee issue. See Defs.' Mot. at 13. Thus on the record currently before the Court, payment of benefits to newly vested Plan participants shall be stayed along with the provisions of the Court's Order under appeal by Hilton. Therefore, the Court will stay the following provisions of the Court's August 31, 2011, 826 F.Supp.2d 25, 2011 WL 3836455 Order:
Hilton shall be required to continue to make scheduled payments to previously vested Plan participants under the existing terms of the Plan. This stay shall be in effect until:
This will enable the parties adequate time to brief the motion and the Court adequate time to resolve the merits of the motion before Hilton must implement the ordered changes. If the Court were to deny Defendants' motion, Hilton would also have sufficient time to make the necessary preparations to implement the plan amendment, and/or seek a stay with the Court of Appeals. However, if the parties reach an agreement as to a supersedeas bond amount, and the bond is approved by the Court and posted by Defendants before the Court's decision is rendered, the Court would enter a stay pending resolution of Defendants' appeal.
B. Briefing Schedule
With the temporary stay in place, there is no need to truncate the briefing schedule for Defendants' motion. Furthermore, given the complexity of the issues surrounding the request for a stay (including the relationship between Plaintiff's potential request for attorney's fees from the common fund and the amount of benefits and back payments to be distributed by Defendants), the Court finds there is good cause to allow the Plaintiff additional time to prepare his opposition. Therefore, Plaintiff's opposition shall be due no later than December 22, 2011, and Defendants' reply due no later than December 30, 2011. There will be no further extensions.
C. Plaintiff's Request for Additional Financial Documents
Plaintiff's motion for a temporary stay requests the Court to order Hilton to re-file it's motion with "supporting declaration(s) from Hilton Worldwide's CFO or other executive officers" and documents addressing "[p]ension liability adjustments," and increased annual funding to the Plan. Pl.'s Mot. at 3. Plaintiff further seeks Hilton's consolidated balance sheets for 2007 through 2010. Id. The Court declines to order Hilton to re-file its Motion or provide additional supporting documentation. Defendants have agreed to provide "additional supporting material relating to paragraph 5 of Mr. Duffy's affidavit," concerning the issue of increased Plan funding requirements. Def.'s Proposed Briefing Schedule at 4. Plaintiff failed to explain why the information provided is inadequate, or how the additional requested materials are relevant to the issues before the Court. Moreover, the burden is on Hilton to provide the Court with adequate documentation and other evidence supporting its assertion that Hilton Worldwide, Inc., is sufficiently solvent to justify a stay without a bond, or a bond in the amount requested by Defendants. Defendants have taken the risk that the Court will not find the motion as filed to be adequate for those purposes and will deny the stay, or require Hilton to post a larger bond. The Court will not order Hilton to produce documents in order to meet Hilton's burden on its own motion.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court finds that the parties and the Court will be best served by temporarily staying the portions of the Court's August 31, 2011 requiring Defendants to amend the Plan and to provide back payments and new or increased benefits to previously and newly vested Plan participants by January 1, 2012. The stay shall be in effect until thirty days after the Court renders its decision on Defendants' motion to stay the Order pending appeal, or until the Defendants post a supersedeas bond ordered or approved by the Court. Furthermore, in light of the complexity of the issues raised by Defendants' motion and the reduced
An appropriate Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.
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