The issue here was whether a union’s health and welfare trust fund was a "multiple employer welfare arrangement" (a "MEWA") which was important for purposes of ERISA preemption. If the fund was a MEWA, it was subject to regulation by the State of North Carolina. If it was not a MEWA, it was subject to ERISA and the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal courts.
The Court found the fund to be a MEWA that should have been licensed by the insurance commissioner. This was a bad result for the defendant insurance brokers, who had sold the unlicensed insurance contracts of the fund. The Court found that they were strictly liable for civil penalties under N.C.G.S. §58-33-95.