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POLITO & SMOCK: COAL-RELATED COMPANIES CAUGHT UNAWARE OF FINANCIAL LIABILITY UNDER NEW FEDERAL LEGISLATION

 PITTSBURGH, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- On Feb. 16, many coal industry-related companies began receiving notice that they were required to contribute substantial sums of money to the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Combined Benefit Fund or "Combined Fund."
 The Combined Fund is the result of recently passed federal legislation intended to force current and former UMWA contract signatories to make payments to rescue ailing UMWA pension and benefit plans.
 Former companies, some of which have been out of the coal business for years, have recently come to learn that they not only owe money to the new Combined Fund, but also that related companies, which have no connection to the coal industry, may be held liable for the contributions. These companies also have learned that this liability can, under certain circumstances, be imposed on individual owners.
 Attorney David J. Laurent, a coal industry lawyer with Polito & Smock, P.C., expressed no surprise at the number of current and former employers who were not aware of or do not fully understand the extent of their financial obligations. "Many of these companies have been out of the coal business for years and feel that they have paid their debts to the UMWA benefit funds. Others just feel that it is patently unfair to expect them to pay for debts which they did not create or agree to pay. In any event, there will be a great uproar in the coal fields of America when people realize the full impact of this recent legislation."
 The legislation, which created the Combined Fund, is currently being challenged on a constitutional basis in at least three different federal courts. "These challenges do not, however, give the protesting companies the right to forego making payments into the funds," cautions Laurent. Rather, attorneys at Polito & Smock are recommending that all affected parties seek individualized legal counsel to adequately determine whether or not any financial liability exists.
 -0- 2/18/93
 /CONTACT: David J. Laurent or Michael D. Glass, 412-394-3333, both of Polito & Smock/


CO: United Mine Workers of America; Polito & Smock, P.C. ST: Pennsylvania IN: MNG SU:

CD-JS -- PG008 -- 8058 02/18/93 16:07 EST
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Date:Feb 18, 1993
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