Lehigh was in the anthracite coal business located in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. It ceased doing business in January 2001. The company was a contributing employer to the Fund, a multiemployer plan providing retirement benefits to employees of the anthracite coal industry under the provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (hereinafter “ERISA”), as amended 28 U.S.C. §§ 1001, et seq. The contributions to the Fund were in the form of royalties for each ton of anthracite coal produced for use or sale.
In the instant case, subsequent to Lehigh ceasing its business operation in January 2001, the Fund assigned it a withdrawal liability in the amount of $1,875,264, which was due in monthly installments for approximately 38 months. Lehigh has challenged this assignment of withdrawal liability through arbitration. Plaintiffs now seek to have the court order the defendant to make payments on the withdrawal liability until arbitration is completed.