Supreme Court Seeks Comment on AT&T Anti-Cutback Rule Case

October 2, 2007 ( - The U.S. Supreme Court has asked the Solicitor General's office to comment on an appeal by AT&T of a court decision that it violated anti-cutback rules of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) when it changed the calculation used for lump sum pension benefits.

Dow Jones reports the request signals interest by the high court in hearing the appeal. A brief will be filed in late 2007 or early 2008 and the high court will then consider the appeal.

In the lawsuit, Linda Call, representing a class of similarly situated participants in the Ameritech Management Pension Plan, which was merged into the AT&T plan, claims her accrued benefit was reduced by an amendment to the plan changing the mortality table and interest rates the plan used in calculating lump sum distributions, Dow Jones said.

In 2004, U.S. District Judge G. Patrick Murphy of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois ruled for Call and the class she represented. The 7 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling.

In its appeal, the AT&T plan argues the federal appeals courts are in disagreement over the lump-sum calculation issue and over the awarding of interest in the judgment.

Murphy’s opinion in Call v. The Ameritech Management Pension Plan is  here .

The 7 th Circuit opinion is here .