Wednesday, September 8, 2010

San Francisco Judge certifies class action in ERISA action against AT&T

On Wednesday, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel certified the class and appointed Quiller Barnes as class representative in an ERISA suit regarding pension benefits.

According to Court papers, Mr. Barnes worked for AT&T from 1973 until October 29, 1996, he then retired and accepted a lump sum of $309,878.38 which was discounted 16.33% because he retired below the age and service requirements for a full pension.  Later he returned to the company to "bridge" the time needed to obtain a full pension.  The AT&T Pension Benefit Plan refused to grant the bridge arguing that Mr. Barnes waived his right to bridge when he left the company, and that if he hadn't he had no right to bridge in the first instance.

Mr. Barnes now wants to join with other similarly situated retirees who also had their bridge benefits denied by the Plan.  Judge Patel found that the class of people suggested, two time retirees with a bridge were sufficiently similar in terms of their claims and the likely defenses the Plan would raise as to be appropriate for a class action.  She granted the motion.

The case is Barnes v. AT&T Pension Benefit Plan No. 08-4058 and the order is below the jump.

Here is the order:
Barnes v. AT&T Pension Benefit Plan

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