Pension & Benefits Daily™ covers all major legislative, regulatory, legal, and industry developments in the area of employee benefits every business day, focusing on actions by Congress,...
Sept. 15 — Retirees challenging Honeywell International Inc.'s decision to eliminate their health coverage won’t be able to force the dispute into arbitration ( Flether v. Honeywell Int’l, Inc. , 2016 BL 300368, S.D. Ohio, No. 3:16-cv-00302, 9/13/16 ).
This proposed class action between Honeywell and retirees of a Greenville, Ohio, plant is one of at least three pending lawsuits challenging the company’s decision to terminate retiree health coverage for certain workers beginning in 2017. On Sept. 13, a federal judge in Ohio overruled the Greenville retirees’ request for arbitration and partly dismissed their lawsuit, reasoning that Honeywell only agreed to arbitrate with unions and employees, and not with former workers or retirees.
According to the various lawsuits—filed by retirees at Ohio, Michigan and Connecticut plants—Honeywell is bound by collective bargaining agreements to provide lifetime health coverage for retirees and their spouses. Honeywell announced that it would terminate certain retirees’ medical and prescription drug coverage beginning in January 2017.
Speaking to Bloomberg BNA in April when the lawsuits were filed, Honeywell spokesman Robert C. Ferris cited the increased options provided by the Affordable Care Act as one factor driving the decision to end coverage for certain retirees.
With the ruling by Judge Walter H. Rice of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Honeywell both avoids arbitration and prevails on the Greenville retirees’ claim of unlawful refusal to arbitrate. Their claims under the Labor Management Relations Act and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act remain pending, as do the other lawsuits challenging the company’s planned benefit cuts.
Martens Ice Klass Legghio & Israel PC and Law Office of William Wertheimer represent the retirees. Faruki Ireland & Cox PLL and Kirkland & Ellis LLP represent Honeywell.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jacklyn Wille in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at email@example.com
Text of the decision is at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/Flether_v_Honeywell_Intl_Inc_No_316CV302_2016_BL_300368_SD_Ohio_S.
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)