U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana approved the deal with the participants who had claimed their pension payouts did not include cost-of-living adjustments (COLA).
Barker’s ruling comes more than two years after the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Rohm & Haas’ pension plan violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by excluding COLAs from the calculation of lump-sum distributions while providing such benefits to participants who opted to receive their benefits through monthly annuities (Rohm and Haas Announces Q3 Charge Following COLA Ruling).
The award is to be distributed over two years with half paid out September 30, 2010 and the remainder a year later.
According to the court, class members who received their lump-sum benefits after March 19, 1999, will receive interest at 8.58% compounded annually. Class members who received lump-sum distributions between June 28, 1992, and March 19, 1999, will receive interest at 3.79% compounded annually. Class members who received lump-sum distributions will receive no interest on the money they will be paid from the settlement funds that would represent the amount of COLAs they should have received.
The case is Williams v. Rohm & Haas Pension Plan, S.D. Ind., No. 4:04-CV-0078-SEB-WGH.