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Retiree Medical Benefits

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Judge Rules that Whirlpool Corporation Retiree Medical Benefits Case Will Proceed to Trial.

 

In an August 27, 2013 ruling, Judge Pearson of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio ordered that claims brought by three subclasses of retirees (and their spouses) challenging reductions in their retiree medical benefits will proceed to trial.

Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec represents the retirees, who are former employees of Hoover Co., Maytag Corp. and Whirlpool Corp., who retired between 1980 and 2007.

The retirees were represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 1985.  Whirlpool, the defendant in this case, is responsible for providing these retirees with retiree medical benefits.

In May 2011, Whirlpool notified its retirees that it planned to reduce their retiree medical benefits. The changes it proposed would eliminate company-provided supplemental health benefits for Medicare-eligible retirees.  In addition, Whirlpool planned to require retirees who were not Medicare-eligible to transition to a different plan and to increase copayments for prescription drug benefits for Medicare-eligible retirees.

In August 2011, the retirees filed a proposed class action challenging Whirlpool’s retiree medical benefit reductions.

Judge Pearson granted the retirees’ motion for class certification in December 2011, certifying four subclasses of retirees:

    • Subclass A (persons retiring after April 18, 1980 but before April 19, 1983; 31 total);

 

    • Subclass B (persons who retired after April 18, 1983 but before January 1, 1992; 418 total);

 

    • Subclass C (persons who retired after December 31, 1992, but before December 8, 2003; 1104 total); and

 

  • Subclass D (persons who retired after December 7, 2003, but before January 31, 2007; 634 total).

In her August ruling, Judge Pearson ordered that the claims of Subclasses A, C and D will proceed to trial on November 4, 2013.  The Judge also rejected virtually all of Whirlpool Corporation’s arguments.

While the Court dismissed retiree medical benefits claims the firm brought on behalf Subclass B, we are evaluating an appeal of this conclusion.

FDPK attorneys Bill Payne, Pamina Ewing and Joel Hurt represent the class in this retiree medical benefits class action.

 

 

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