University of California Livermore Retirees Group / Legal Defense Fund

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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)

 

 

The University of California Livermore Retirees Group (UCLRG) was formed in 2008 to challenge the decision by the Regents of the University of California to terminate University-sponsored health care benefits of retirees who had worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and transfer responsibility for the benefits to the new contractor.

In 2007, the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the contract to manage the Laboratory to Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLNS), a private sector “joint venture” that includes Bechtel, the University of California, and two smaller companies.

When management was transferred to LLNS in October 2007, the Regents terminated UC benefits and transferred retirees who had worked at the Laboratory to the LLNS Health and Welfare Benefit Plan for Retirees. (Pension benefits remained with the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP), or in some cases, with CalPERS.)

Since 1961, when the Regents established group health care for employees and retirees, the University has told employees that “You may continue your University-sponsored group health plan coverage for you and your family after you retire.”

UCRLG was organized to challenge UC’s decision not to honor this promise. Joe Requa led the effort. He contacted UC and registered an objection on behalf of retirees who had worked at the Laboratory. When UC refused to budge, Joe Requa and three others (Jay Davis, Donna Ventura and Wendell Moen) filed a lawsuit (on 8/11/10) to challenge the decision.

Since that time, we have won two appeals and convinced the Alameda Superior Court to “certify” the lawsuit as a class action on behalf of all UC retirees and dependents whose health care benefits were terminated. In December 2015, we won Phase I of the trial. However, In November 2017, the Superior Court changed its mind and “de-certified” the class. We appealed a second time and again won.

A trial date for Phase II was scheduled for May 6, 2019. However, this date will be moved because an ongoing trial in Dept. 21 is not yet finished.

This web site will provide background and keep you informed of developments in the case.