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A federal judge on Tuesday affirmed a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that ordered the LTV Corp. to reassume liability for nearly $3 billion in employee pension plans it stopped funding in 1987.

The Dallas steel, aerospace and energy concern, which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, had opposed restoring the plans because it claimed such a move could possibly force the company to liquidate.

But U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet of Manhattan granted a request by the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. to make LTV take back responsibility for the pension plans. LTV owns the Sierra Research Division in Cheektowaga.

Meanwhile, LTV Steel Corp. announced Tuesday it is closing three production units at its Cleveland plant and laying off about 900 employees because of weak economic conditions. The units include a blast furnace that will close Friday, and a steel production department and a direct rolling complex that will close by Sunday, the steelmaker said.

LTV Steel said the units would remain closed until market conditions improve.

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