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NCR ERISA Denial of Retirement Benefits Class Action

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Retirement plans are necessarily long-term plans that will have an effect for decades. As circumstances change, companies may want to changes the rules, requirements, and benefits of their plans, but employees and retirees must be protected from the loss of things they’ve worked long years for. In this case, plaintiff Arthur Stanton seeks to obtain retirement benefits from NCR, his former employer, under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

Two subclasses have been outlined in this class action.

Class (a) includes:

  • All participants in the plan, including participants in former employee benefit plans that merged into the plan, including their beneficiaries, surviving spouses, and estates;
  • Who were employed by NCR before, on, or after January 1, 1976;
  • Who became participants under in the 1976 plan in accordance with Part II, Section 1, paragraph C of the 1976 plan; and
  • Who did not receive credited service, in whole or in part, in accordance with Part II, Section 2, paragraph B of the 1976 plan because of a pre-ERISA break in their service.

Class (b) includes:

  • All participants in the plan, including participants in former employee benefit plans that merged into the plan, including their beneficiaries, surviving spouses, and estates;
  • Who were employed by NCR on or after January 1, 1976;
  • Who became participants in accordance with Part II, Section 1, paragraph A of the 1976 plan;
  • Who had not completed 10 or more years of service at the time they terminated employment with NCR; and
  • Who did not receive their basic monthly benefit, in whole or in part, at their normal retirement date in accordance with Part II, Section 2, paragraph A of the 1976 plan.

According to the complaint, Plaintiff Stanton worked full time for NCR from October 10, 1961 to January 1, 1970. At that time, the complaint says, he took an unpaid leave of absence authorized by the company and returned to work on or about October 1, 1971. He continued to work there full time until February 15, 1980.

The complaint points to the booklet explaining NCR’s 1963 retirement plan to claim Stanton was promised “assured income” under the company’s non-contributing annuity and to define “credited service” to qualify. The booklet says that credited service is “the period of full-time employment by the Company which is continuous up to retirement date, except as follows: …(b) Absence on authorized leave of absence shall not break continuous service and the period absent shall be included in Credited Service.” The complaint says that Stanton’s credited service thus extends from October 10, 1961 to February 15, 1980.

In addition, the complaint points out, the booklet states that ““[n]o retroactive amendment shall be made unless required to qualify or retain the qualification of the Plan under the Internal Revenue Code or any other law.”

Despite these provisions, the complaint alleges, NCR made changes in the plan over time concerning the definition of credited service and the requirements for vesting in the plan. The complaint also alleges that NCR attempted to find other ways to remove its obligations to employees and retirees. The result of all this, the complaint says, is that after his retirement, Stanton was denied the benefits that he should have received. This class action attempts to recover some recompense for those losses, both for Stanton and for others similarly situated.

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