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$15.1M Settlement Reached in Carpenters Pension Trust Fund Reduced Retirement Disability Payouts

This is a settlement for the ERISA Violations lawsuit.

Santa Clara, CA: A $15.1 million settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit brought against multi-employer benefits plan Carpenters Pension Trust Fund—Detroit and Vicinity and its trustees, over allegations they reduced disability retirement benefits to workers enrolled in the plans, in violation of their Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

According to the suit, the defendants amended their ERISA plan to reduce disability retirement benefits that class members had already begun receiving, despite the plan specifying that no amendment would be permitted to reduce the benefits of any person already receiving them.

The final settlement was approved by U.S. District Judge Laurie J. Michelson, and will provide back damages to March 1, to all workers who saw reductions in their disability retirement benefits.

According to Judge Michelson, the deal will provide nearly all the benefits to the class that they would have received had the defendants not changed the plan. Further, the class will also receive an interest rate of 2.74 percent on past benefits owed, which is estimated to amount to $15,153,176 through March 1.

Attorneys for the class state there are more than 300 members, most of whom are disabled millwrights and carpenters. Additionally, some ex-spouses of the plan participants who were entitled to the disability benefits according to the terms of a divorce, are also included in the class.

The case is Underwood v. Carpenters Pension Trust Fund—Detroit and Vicinity Pension Plan et al., case number 2:13-cv-14464, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

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Published on Feb-22-17


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