TO ALL CLASS MEMBERS RE SETTLEMENT SUPPLEMENT
March 9, 2021
We know that all of you are awaiting distribution of the “Settlement Supplement” – the annual payment that starts this year to supplement the benefit paid by LLNS.
We were hopeful that this benefit would be distributed in January 2021. We are now hopeful that it will be distributed at the end of this month (March 2021).
The reasons for the delay are complicated, but we want to provide a “thumbnail” explanation.
In order to meet our goal of having the funds deemed tax-exempt, the benefit has to be distributed through an HRA (“Health Reimbursement Arrangement” also known as a “Health Reimbursement Account”). Since UC declined to have any role in distributing the HRA, including acting as “plan sponsor,” Petitioners had to set up a new nonprofit corporation that would act as the plan sponsor to get the funds distributed. The name of the new nonprofit is the Livermore Class Action Settlement Administration and Education Fund, Inc. (“LCASE”). Petitioners also had to set up a Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association (“VEBA”) to allow settlement funds from UC to be invested so that the benefit would last for 20 years (or until only 1,000 class members are still living).
All of this has involved a number of filings with the IRS, the California Franchise Tax Board, the California Registry of Charitable Trusts, etc. In addition, LCASE has had to work out agreements with Willis Towers Watson to act as the plan administrator to distribute the HRA funds. LCASE has also had to work out an agreement with ARCHER Systems, the Settlement Administrator, to provide settlement funds to Willis Towers Watson for distribution to the class; and to provide funds to Argent Financial, the Court-approved VEBA Trustee, which will be responsible for investing funds to ensure that the benefits will last for 20 years.
This may be more than you wanted to know. Most members of the class just want to know when they will get their Settlement Supplement for 2021. We have included this brief explanation for those who are interested.
Please keep in mind that, regardless of when the Settlement Supplement is distributed, it will apply to the entire year of 2021. That means that, if you had an expense in January 2021 that the Settlement Supplement covers (e.g., an out-of-pocket expense not covered by your health care or prescription plan), you will still be able to use the benefit to cover that expense, even though the actual funds do not arrive until March 2021.
I can assure you that class counsel and ARCHER are working as hard as we can to get this done. In the meantime, we understand the urgency of the situation and appreciate your patience. We cannot make any promises about when the Settlement Supplement will be distributed – except that we are working as hard as we can to get it done as soon as possible.
Please continue to visit the Settlement Administrator’s website at http://llnlretireesettlement.com for information regarding the settlement. Further announcements regarding the distribution of the Settlement Supplement and other benefits will be posted there.
Andrew Thomas Sinclair - Sinclair Law Office
Kathleen V. Fisher - Calvo, Fisher & Jacob
Dov Grunschlag - Carter, Carter, Fries & Grunschlag
Attorneys for Petitioners and Class
March 1, 2021
Hon. Maria-Elena James, the Court Monitor in Requa/Moen v. Regents of Univ. of Cal., has submitted her first Annual Report to the Alameda County Superior Court regarding the settlement reached by the Petitioners in December 2019 and approved by the Court in April 2020. The Superior Court is expected to set a date for a hearing regarding Judge James’ report shortly. The report is available here.
AVAILABILITY OF SETTLEMENT SUPPLEMENT
Message from the Administrator:
ARCHER is aware that Class Members are anticipating more information regarding the availability of the Settlement Supplement. ARCHER and Class Counsel are working through final issues required to properly establish the HRA, which will make the Settlement Supplement distributions tax free. As soon as these tasks are complete the HRA will be implemented, thus making funds available.
We endeavor to complete these items over the next three weeks, at which time we can fully determine the Supplement and finalize arrangements with the HRA administrator.
It is important to note that regardless of the ultimate timing of this implementation, you will be able to use the funds for eligible expenses retroactive to January 1, 2021.
Thank you in advance for your understanding.
Open Enrollment for LLNS is underway. For Via Benefits, Open enrollment is October 15 to December 2, 2020. For Empyrean and Kaiser, Open Enrollment is October 19 to November 13, 2020.
Settlement Administrator ARCHER Systems has posted important information about Open Enrollment on the ARCHER website: llnlretireesettlement.com.
We are including the ARCHER documents on our website as well:
1. Update (October 23, 2020): LLNS Open Enrollment & Settlement Supplement
2. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
3. Kaiser Permanente Sr Advantage & Via Benefits
4. Non-Medicare 65-up Retiree Contributions
5. Non-Medicare pre-65 Retiree Contributions
As part of the Settlement Agreement, you will receive a “Settlement Supplement” in 2021 that will allow you to purchase better health care coverage if you wish to do so. Any funds that are not used for premium costs may be applied to certain other health care costs (see FAQ “What expenses will an HRA cover?).
If you have questions about which health care plan is best for you, ARCHER will assist you. Please see “Help with Questions” in the “Update.”
As noted in “Help with Questions,” if you are not able to get satisfactory answers from Via Benefits, Empyrean or Kaiser, please contact ARCHER:
ARCHER toll-free number: 1-800-978-8522
ARCHER email: email@example.com.
Getting answers will be easier if you write down your questions and send to ARCHER via email.
If you have any problems contacted ARCHER, please contact the attorneys for the class:
Andrew Thomas Sinclair
Sinclair Law Office
UPDATE/Initial $1,000 Payment
We have learned that ARCHER Systems plans to start sending out the Initial $1,000 Payment to class members by July 16, 2020. This is a target date and may change; however, we wanted to provide this information as we know that class members want to be updated on the distribution of these funds, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Please be sure that your Class Member Data Form has been submitted and encourage other class members to do the same.
ARCHER also let us know that a number of class members have contacted them to confirm receipt of the Class Member Data Form. ARCHER has been responding promptly and has been doing an excellent job in answering questions from class members. If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact ARCHER.
UC Deposits $19,000,000 with Settlement Administrator
Pursuant to Articles III-A-18 and V-A-2 of the Settlement Agreement, on Monday, May 11, 2020, the Regents deposited $15,000,000 with ARCHER Systems, the Settlement Administrator.
The Regents also deposited $4,000,000 with ARCHER to provide Benefit Counseling Services in order to facilitate the Class Members’ selection, acquisition, and utilization of health insurance. The Benefit Counseling Services will be most helpful during Open Enrollment in the fall.
ARCHER plans to begin sending the Initial $1000 Payment in 30 to 60 days.
Reminder - Class Member Data Forms
Please be sure to submit your Class Member Data Form if you have not already done so. These Forms are critical for ARCHER to ensure that the Initial $1000 Payment is sent to the correct address.
Since all members of the class, both living and deceased, are entitled to the Initial $1000 Payment, it is very important for living class members to return the Class Member Data Form to ARCHER, and for the representative of deceased class members to return the Form.
In some cases, one spouse has returned the Class Member Data Form to ARCHER but not the other spouse. Both Forms should be submitted to ARCHER.
If you are not sure whether you or your spouse have submitted a Class Member Data Form, or if you did not receive or have misplaced your Form, call the ARCHER Systems toll free number (1-800-978-8522); or you can send an email to:
ARCHER can confirm receipt of your Class Member Data Form and send another Form if you did not receive the Form or if you have misplaced it.
Judge Gives Final Approval to Settlement of Suit Between University of California and Lawrence Livermore Retirees Over Termination of Medical Benefits
Oakland, California – April 13, 2020 – Judge Winifred Smith of Alameda Superior Court gave final approval on Friday, April 10, 2020 to the settlement between University of California retirees who worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Regents of the University of California in a case involving the termination of the retirees’ University-sponsored health care benefits. Final Approval of Order and Judgment is here. Order Granting Final Approval of Class Settlement and Granting Motion for Award of Fees and Costs is here.
In October 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded the contract to manage the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) to a private sector LLC, Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLNS). The Regents then terminated University-sponsored retiree health care benefits for all retirees who had worked at LLNL. This action triggered the lawsuit.
The settlement restores the security for retiree health care benefits by requiring The Regents to restore University-sponsored benefits if LLNS terminates the benefits it is providing or materially alters those benefits. There are approximately 9,000 retirees, spouses and dependents in the class. The average age of the class is approximately 80.
The Regents will pay $80 million to provide an annual stipend for the next 20 years as well as past damages. All members of the class will immediately receive a payment of $1,000 and certain class members who suffered higher losses will be compensated for a portion of their loss. The Regents will also pay $4 million for benefits counselors and contribute $500,000 toward the cost of administering the settlement. A more detailed summary of settlement terms is provided as an appendix to this release.
“We are pleased to have been able to reach this settlement with the Regents, which will benefit retirees and their families for years to come, “said 77-year-old plaintiff Jay Davis, a former associate director at the Lab who retired in 2002. “We were proud to be University of California employees for 50 years and we appreciate the way UC has worked with us over the last year to settle our claims.”
“We want to recognize the extraordinary efforts of the Court, the mediator, and all the parties and their counsel in working together to finalize this settlement in the midst of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Andrew Thomas Sinclair, lead counsel for the Livermore Lab retirees. “By doing so, we’ll be getting important economic relief to class members, as well as guaranteeing the security of their health benefits in this very difficult time.”
The class is represented by Andrew Thomas Sinclair of Sinclair Law Office in Oakland; Dov Grunschlag of Carter Carter Fries & Grunschlag in San Francisco; and Kathleen Fisher, Maya Maravilla and Alex Freeman of Calvo Fisher & Jacob in San Francisco.
The case is Moen, et al., v. Regents of University of California, et al., Case No. RG10530492, Superior Court, County of Alameda, California.
# # #
SETTLEMENT BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Moen v. Regents
There are approximately 9,000 retirees, spouses and dependents in the class. The average age of the class is approximately 80. Approximately 2,000 class members have passed away since October 2007. Most of the class (95%) is eligible for Medicare and is covered through Via Benefits and Kaiser Senior Advantage. Class members who are not eligible for Medicare are covered through (non-Medicare) Kaiser and Anthem Blue Cross.
Backstop / Reinstatement Provision
Plaintiffs and the Class will stay in the LLNS Health and Safety Benefit Plan for Retirees and continue to receive benefits from LLNS. The settlement provides an enhanced “Supplemental Payment” to bring benefits into line with those offered by UC.
The value of the settlement depends on LLNS maintaining the benefits it provides. Security going forward is provided by the “backstop/reinstatement” provision which requires The Regents to reinstate UC-sponsored benefits if LLNS terminates or materially changes the benefits it provides.
$84.5 Million Settlement
The Regents will pay $80 million to compensate class members for past damages and enhanced health care coverage going forward.
One-fourth (25%) of the $80 million will be used for past damages; three-quarters (75%) will be used to enhance health care benefits over the next 20 years.
The Regents will also pay $4 million for benefits counselors and $500,000 towards the cost of administration.
Past Damages – Initial $1,000 Payment
All members of the class will receive a, Initial $1000 Payment as soon as possible now that the court has granted final approval to the settlement. This payment will go to all members of the class (including heirs of deceased class members), and will cost approximately $9 million.
Past Damages – Above $1,000
Certain Class Members suffered losses in excess of $1000 and will be compensated for a portion of their loss (expected to total approximately $11 million).
Enhanced Benefits for 20 Years
Approximately $60 million of the settlement will be used to establish a trust that will provide additional funds for the next 20 years. These funds will lower the cost of coverage for Class Members going forward.
Benefits Counselors & Administrative Costs
The Regents will also pay $4 million for benefits counselors who will assist class members in choosing the most appropriate health care coverage and resolving disputes with health care providers. The Regents will contribute $500,000 toward the costs of administering the settlement.
Via Benefits is a “portal” that provides access to hundreds of health care and prescription plans for class members who are eligible for Medicare. LLNS provides a stipend of $2,450 per year which class members use to select the coverage they want. Under the settlement, class members will continue to receive the LLNS stipend ($2,450 per year or $204.17 per month) plus a Settlement Supplemental going forward ($550 per year or $45.83 per month). So, class members will receive a total of $204.17 + $45.83 = $250.00 per month ($3,000/year) with which to purchase coverage through Via Benefits.
Kaiser Senior Advantage
Kaiser Senior Advantage also provides benefits to Medicare-eligible class members. As with Via Benefits, LLNS also provides $2,450 per year ($204.17 per month). The settlement will provide an additional $558 per year ($46.50 per month) for class members in Kaiser Senior Advantage.
Non-Medicare Class Members
Class members who are not eligible for Medicare receive coverage through Kaiser or one of the three Anthem Blue Cross plans. For these class members, the settlement will provide a Settlement Supplemental depending upon the plan selected. These class members will see an initial reduction in their monthly health care cost between 50% and 72%.
Notice re April 10, 2020 Court Hearing
The Court’s Orders of December 20, 2019 granting Preliminary Approval of the class action settlement set April 10, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., for the final approval hearing. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court has issued Emergency Local Rule 3.29, which provides that “All appearances in any civil action … must be limited to telephonic or video technology…” The Court has decided that the hearing set for April 10 at 10:00 a.m. will proceed as scheduled via telephonic appearances. To attend telephonically please call the following number on the date and time of the hearing: 1-720-835-5758 and enter pin# 87530.
Please note also that on Friday, April 3, 2020, the Court issued a Tentative Order (1) Granting Final Approval of Class Settlement and (2) Granting Motion for Award of Fees and Costs. A link to the Tentative Order is on the webpage below.
Requa-Moen v Regents - Tentative Ruling - Final Approval
Court Hearing on April 10 on Motion to Approve Final Settlement
Legal counsel for the Livermore retirees filed these documents on March 17, 2020 in advance of the April 10 hearing.
Notice of Motion and Motion for Final Approval of Stipulation of Class Action Settlement and Release
Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Petitioners’ Motion for Final Approval of Stipulation of Class Action Settlement and Release
Declaration of Blake A. Deady Regarding Notice and Settlement Administration
Declaration of Andrew Thomas Sinclair in Support of Motion for Final Approval of Stipulation of Class Action Settlement and Release; and in Support of Motion for Attorneys’ Fees
Final Approval Order and Judgment (Proposed)
Settlement Notice Mailed to Class Members
January 23, 2020 - The Settlement Administrator appointed by the Court (Archer Systems in Houston, Texas) has mailed a notice to the class about the settlement, which you should read. Please be sure to fill out and return the Class Member Data Form (included with the notice). This is very important. Archer needs up-to-date, accurate information before sending out the settlement proceeds. So please fill out and return this form as soon as possible. Also, please direct questions about the Settlement – including whether you or someone else is a member of the class -- to Archer through the toll free number (800-978-8522) or the website (http://www.llnlretireesettlement.com).
Judge Signs Order Granting Preliminary Approval of Settlement
Judge Winifred Smith of Alameda County Superior Court signed two orders on December 20, 2019 granting preliminary approval to the settlement between the Retirees and the University of California. The orders are here:
Notice of Ruling re Preliminary Approval
Order Granting Preliminary Approval
Order Granting Establishment of a Qualified Settlement Fund
According to a story in the Livermore Independent on December 26: "Next steps in administering the agreement include an effort to communicate with all 9,000 of the retirees, or, if deceased, their estates. The communication is expected to include a description of the settlement and opportunity to comment or opt out. Depending on the outcome of the communication effort, as well as future court actions, the first reimbursement payments to retirees for past costs might come as early as id-2020, observers believe."
Press Release from UCLRG
$84 Million Settlement with University of California Over Termination of UC Medical Benefits
Livermore, California – December 12, 2019 – After ten years of hard fought litigation and two victories at the California Court of Appeal, University of California retirees who worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have reached an $84.5 million settlement with The Regents of the University of California over the termination of their University-sponsored health care benefits.
The settlement restores the security for retiree health care benefits by requiring The Regents to restore University-sponsored benefits if LLNS terminates the benefits it is providing or materially alters those benefits. The Regents will also pay $80 million to provide an increased stipend going forward as well as past damages. The Regents will also pay $4 million for benefits counselors and contribute $500,000 toward the cost of administering the settlement.
One-fourth of the settlement ($20 million) will be used to compensate class members who suffered financial losses. Three-quarters of the settlement ($60 million) will be used to establish a trust to pay for enhanced benefits for class members over the next 20 years.
The plaintiffs have filed a motion asking the Alameda Superior Court for preliminary approval of the settlement. A hearing is scheduled for December 20, 2019. If the court gives preliminary approval, notice will be sent to all members of the class, who will have a chance to express their views of the settlement at a hearing that will be scheduled by the court. The court will then be asked to give final approval to the settlement.
Full Press Release is here.
Selected Court Documents
Notice of Motion & Motion for Preliminary Approval of Stipulation of Class Action Settlement & Release
Memorandum of Points & Authorities in Support of Petitioners' Motion for Preliminary Approval of Joint Stipulation of Class Action Settlement & Release
[Proposed] Order Granting Preliminary Approval of Stipulation of Class Action Settlement & Release
Declaration of A. Thomas Sinclair
Declaration of Allan Phillips in Support of Petitioners' Motion for Preliminary Approval of Joint Stipulation of Class Action Settlement & Release
Declaration of Scott H. Freeman
Stipulation re Names of Class Members & Order [Proposed]
Stipulation re Hearing Motion for Preliminary Approval on Shortened Time & Order
2019-12-10 Proof of Service (Motion for Preliminary Approval)