Judge Rebuffs Andersen Retiree Claim

May 6, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A federal judge rejected an attempt by retired Arthur Andersen partners to shield their pensions from the impact of the firm's divestiture of practice units and member firms on Friday.

As a result the retirees will have to ask an arbitrator to preserve their pensions and medical benefits.

Judge Robert Gettleman of United States District Court threw out the retirees’ request for an injunction to stop what their lawyer called the ‘fire sale’ at Andersen, which the pensioners said endangered their monthly payments, averaging about $3,500, according to Reuters.

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Those pensions are paid out of the firm’s revenue, which has shrunk dramatically in the midst of an exodus of corporate clients in recent weeks.

Outside court, the retirees’ lawyer, Tom Mulroy, said Andersen was exchanging revenue-producing assets – its partners – for good will payments, and the retirees should be granted their share of that money, according to the Reuters report. He said he would seek to have the retired partners or their surviving spouses protected by a federal law that guarantees that companies set aside the money to pay pensions.

The retired partners claim to be the largest creditor of Andersen in the US and also globally because of reciprocal income guarantees under member firm contracts.