Thursday, January 3, 2013

Retirees can sue Livermore lab over health care

Fom the San Francisco Chronicle


Bob Egelko
Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A state appeals court has revived a lawsuit by retired employees of the University of California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory over UC's decision in 2008 to switch their health insurance to a private plan that covered less and cost more.

The four retirees presented evidence that the university had promised them lifetime health coverage and can try to prove that the shift to a lesser plan was a breach of contract, the First District Court of San Francisco ruled Monday. The court reversed an Alameda County judge's decision to dismiss the suit.

Although they have not filed a class-action suit on behalf of all retired lab employees, Dov Grunschlag, a lawyer for the four retirees, predicted that their case would lead to reinstatement of all Livermore retirees' UC health coverage.

The ruling "reaffirms that California law will protect the right of people who worked for public entities for many years to continue receiving the health coverage that was promised to them once they retired," Grunschlag said.

The university said it remains hopeful of winning when the case goes to trial.

The plaintiffs worked at Livermore for decades and had retired before 2007, when UC transferred management of the lab to a partnership called Lawrence Livermore National Security, which includes the university and private companies.

UC then terminated the retirees' government-sponsored health insurance and assured them that they would receive equivalent coverage from the new managers. But the court said the new plan is inferior and more expensive. Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch dismissed the suit in May 2011, saying it was unclear that the university had ever promised the employees lifetime coverage - and that even if such a promise was made, it was not legally binding.

But later last year, the state Supreme Court ruled in an Orange County case that public employees could rely on a government agency's express or implied promise of future health benefits.

In this case, the appeals court cited such statements as an assurance in a 1979 UC retirement system handbook that employees with five years of service have "a non-forfeitable (vested) right to a retirement benefit" including university contributions.

A number of UC publications "contain language that could be read as implying a commitment to provide these benefits throughout retirement," said Presiding Justice Barbara Jones in the 3-0 ruling.

The ruling can be viewed at www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/nonpub/A132778.PDF

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if those of us that choose TPC2 and actually retired from UC while continued on with LLNS might be able to get our UC retirement benefits back?

Anonymous said...

Are you paying close attention, LANL retirees and those who are soon to retire and were kicked out of the UC system of coverage with sweet promises of "substantial equivalent"?

Anonymous said...

LLNS, LANS and NNSA/DOE should be made to pay for the lies that they made to workers and retirees back in 2006 regarding the switch over to a for-profit management LLC and how it would have little effect on worker benefits going forward.


Anonymous said...

This is all the while Tomas and his new consultancy will get subcontracts to pay for his services to LLNS. The books need to be balanced. To pay for Tomas' services and lifestyle, the retirees need to be sacrificed. Tomas is more important than a bunch of promises to old farts. You should be proud of the sacrifices you are being forced to make in order to bring Tomas' vision back to the lab in support of energy security. Perhaps he will be the next lab director. Retirees should expire early to open up more funds for Tomas' vision.

Anonymous said...

Tyler Przybylek is a liar. This was one of his lies.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Joe Requa for earning a win in long battle, which still has a long way to go.

We were all under the illusion that we were UC employees, instead we were red-headed step kids for hire. I know that until 2007 that I was working under the assumption that both the retirement and the health care were vested entities. Until that time you didn't see the lab putting out in bold print that health benefits were a per site thing. Then again, until 2007 we believed we were UC employees.

Anonymous said...

When UC defends itself poorly, NNSA will end up paying the bill.

Mara, Brown and Newsom understand this.

Anonymous said...

I don't care who pays the bill. UC, DOE, NNSA, LLNS, LANS, and all the carpetbaggers associated therewith are complicit in this screw job. If it were up to me, I'd award punitive damages.....but it will probably end up in a loss (after UC delays and starves the plaintiffs or finds a court willing to listen to their jaded BS) or a hollow class-action victory where the class members get a pittance and the attorneys on both sides laugh all the way to the bank.

Anonymous said...

And the lawsuits continue...

LLNS has really become a joke.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that neither of the horribly wronged parties in the Pete Nanos inspired disaster back in 2004 -- staff member Todd Kappuilla (RIP) & his friend, John Horne -- have been compensated in any way for the lies thrust upon them during that horrible witch-hunting event. They were railroaded out of their jobs on flimsy evidence that later was crushed by the facts. Todd's surviving wife, Sarah, hasn't even received a simply apology from the evil cretins who inhabit LANL's upper levels of management during that time.

If UC can keep their lawyers stalling two guys who have what looks like a slam dung win against a dysfunctional labs, how long do you think these retirees will have to wait? They'll be long gone before any legal conclusions ever result. That is something the UC and the labs' management are great at gaming. These people have no morals or ethics. They are truly evil.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm lost. Does this mean that all of us who were UC employees at one time bfore the UC-LLNS transiton took place no matter if we went TCP-1 or TCP-2 will soon be getting our mediacl from UC at a much lower cost since the poll of people is much bigger. Someone please explain in detail what a WIN would mean.

Anonymous said...

Todd's surviving wife, Sarah, hasn't even received a simply apology from the evil cretins who inhabit LANL's upper levels of management during that time.

January 6, 2013 9:13 PM

It will be a cold day in hell when the folks that were responsible for Todd's death have any remorse, let alone apologize to the victim's wife for what they did...Pete Nanos.

Anonymous said...

Are these comments followed by "..." intended to be quotes from these individuals, or actual responses from these individuals? While I understand the anger sentiments being conveyed, it would be fraudulent and defamatory for someone to just throw a name on like that to give the false impression that the post is associated with the name, when it actually isn't. Just a warning, if this is indeed happening... you are exposing yourself to legal liability. I might even suggest having posts like these dropped. If the poster wanted to identify themselves, they can post non-anonymously.

Anonymous said...

the "specific name" in brackets was misinterpreted as an html tag. The previous message should start off as

Are these comments followed by "...[Specific Name]" intended etc. etc.

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