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Strangling Pensions II



Alvin Lurie, the ERISA expert and former Assistant Commissioner of Internal Revenue, wrote a great column for us November 12 on the insane defined benefit rulings out of the Southern District of Illinois, eventually reversed by the Seventh Circuit in an opinion by Judge Easterbrook. The plaintiffs' bar, however, never gives up on this sort of parasitical lawsuit, and simply forum-shopped for friendlier environs, and seem to have found them in the Southern District of New York, where two Clinton appointees, Judges Scheindlin and Baer, have issued rulings refusing to let the Seventh Circuit opinion in Cooper v. IBM bind them and letting similar suits go forward. Congress passed reform earlier this year to shut down future versions of these lawsuits, but, perhaps thinking that Cooper ended the matter, failed to make the Pension Protection Act of 2006 retroactive. The executive branch could have fixed the problem years ago, but Congress somehow allowed Socialist Rep. (now Sen.) Bernie Sanders block funding for the Department of Labor to issue clarifying regulations. (Jerry Geisel, "Judge says cash balance plans discriminate", Business Insurance, Dec. 13; Paul Secunda, Nov. 1; BenefitsBlog, Oct. 31; Nevin Adams blog, Oct. 7; In re JP Morgan Chase Cash Balance Litigation (Baer, J.)).

 

 


Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.