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This BLOG is for LLNL present and past employees, friends of LLNL and anyone impacted by the privatization of the Lab to express their opinions and expose the waste, wrongdoing and any kind of injustice against employees and taxpayers by LLNS/DOE/NNSA. The opinions stated are personal opinions. Therefore, The BLOG author may or may not agree with them before making the decision to post them. Opinions not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email jlscoob5@gmail.com

Saturday, March 14, 2015

UC Hires Fresh Counsel To Combat Retiree Lawsuit

UC Hires Fresh Counsel To Combat Retiree Lawsuit
Independent
March 12, 2015

In its battle with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory retirees who would like to return to University of California healthcare, the University has hired a law firm that knows a thing or two about fighting: Crowell & Moring LLP, which represented the Blackwater Security Co. after it was accused of unnecessarily killing Iraqi civilians in 2007.

Last week, the University terminated the law firm that had been representing it, San Francisco based Hanson Bridgett LLP.

Observers wondered whether recent court setbacks prompted the University to make the move was unclear. Rulings in Oakland Superior Court, where the class action healthcare case is being heard, have tended to favor the arguments of the retirees. The University did not explain or announce the change in law firm other than to file a required notice with the court.

UC’s new lawyers are from an international firm with some 500 attorneys and extensive experience in dealing with government contracts. Crowell & Moring is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in San Francisco, New York and London, among other major cities.

After Blackwater employees killed 17 Iraqi civilians in a 2007 Baghdad shootout, Crowell & Moring successfully defended the company (today called Academi) against a range of accusations, including complaints worth more than $1 billion under the False Claims Act.

The False Claims defense was so successful that Crowell & Moring summarizes it on its website as a case study.

Now it will try to help UC prevail against LLNL retirees.

The retiree lawsuit, first filed in 2010, is intended to return the retirees to UC health care programs. Those programs were available to them from the time of the Laboratory’s founding in 1952 until 2008, when a for-profit consortium took over for the University as manager of the national defense laboratory.

The contract change led to industrial style health care coverage, which retirees considered a violation of promises made during their careers at the Laboratory. They formed a grass roots organization, raised funds and found legal counsel to file suit.

The University has contested the suit from the start. In rulings, the court confirmed, over UC objections, that the retirees have standing to sue. More recently, it allowed the retirees to convert their suit to a class action, which UC opposed.

As of last week, as the window closed for retirees to choose to remain in or to remove themselves from the lawsuit class, only 132 had chosen to “opt out.” That left slightly more than 4,400 retirees and surviving beneficiaries for purposes of continuing the suit.

Attorneys for the retirees last week presented a trial plan as requested by the court. University attorneys are expected to present their plan this week. The next conference with the judge is scheduled for April 1.


17 comments:

Anonymous said...

The bloodsucking retiree parasites need to be shown a thing or two. They left the lab and now seem to think that the lab owes them an easy life in their retirement years. It does not.

Go work at Walmart as a greeter if you want extra retirement income and benefits.

Anonymous said...


Go work at Walmart as a greeter if you want extra retirement income and benefits.

March 15, 2015 at 10:37 PM


Agreed, what is so special about lab workers that they have to live by a different set of rules than Walmart or Starbucks workers? There are so many people out there that would take their jobs in an instance if given the opportunity. America is going broke as it cannot afford to pay all the entitled people that think they are owed a living. Think about this before you complain about your job or lab management.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, what is so special about lab workers that they have to live by a different set of rules than Walmart or Starbucks workers?

March 15, 2015 at 11:01 PM

Uh, they are educated and skilled? They put in 20+ years loyal to the same employer? Try to keep on topic: the retirees already have retiree health care from LLNS. The ones who retired before the transition were switched from UC to LANS without prior notice and without any opportunity to weigh in. This arguable violated promises and policies promulgated by UC for many years. The lawsuit seeks to return them to UC retiree health care. The lawsuit has merit. It may not succeed, but that's what courts are for.

Anonymous said...

There are so many people out there that would take their jobs in an instance if given the opportunity.

Then why don't they? The Lab has many job openings. Why doesn't the average Walmart/Starbucks cashier with or without a high school diploma get a job as a weapons designer at the Lab? If they're so anxious to work here, what are they doing to make this happen? Are they planning to spend the next 10-15 years in college? That's what I did.

Clearly, the folks at Walmart and Starbucks don't want our jobs. They're not doing what it takes to work here. They want our pay and benefits, sure, but only if they don't have to put in extra effort to have them. This is demonstrated by their action, or lack of action.

But I generally agree. When I came to the Lab decades ago, it was clear to me that retiree health benefits were not guaranteed.

Anonymous said...

Whether health benefits are "guaranteed" is not the issue. Lab employees WERE UC employees. Like employees at any other campus. In fact, they were TOLD over and over, that they were part of UC, their retirement would be through UC, etc. UC took plenty of credit for the good work Lab employees did.

One of the reasons smart people stayed at the Labs was the lucrative UC retirement benefits. These people could have bolted the Labs and gone elsewhere, probably making more money. Maybe they stayed because of the importance of the mission, but the retirement benefits were probably part of the decision-making process.

When they retired from UC, they reasonably expected their health benefits would be provided by UC, JUST LIKE THEY ARE FOR RETIREES FROM ALL THE OTHER CAMPUSES. But no, LLNS/LANS took over that part of the benefits, AND THE COST TO THE LAB RETIREES ROSE QUITE A BIT over that being paid by "other" UC retirees.

It's not that the retirees are arguing that their health benefits are "guaranteed." They just want to be treated like ALL THE OTHER UC RETIREES, because that's what they are. If un-guaranteed health benefits go away for all of UC, OK, they'll go away for Lab retirees too. But that isn't what happened. Instead, Lab retirees, some of whom retired LONG before LANS/LLNS were even somebodies half-brained idea, were pushed to have their retiree health benefits provided by an entity they never worked for, one that had no allegiance whatsoever to them, and seemed to consider them a nuisance, simply a burden to accept in order to get a lucrative management fee. And UC was complicit in the deal, basically washing its hands of the retirees, many of whom had worked their entire 30-40 year careers for the university.

DOE and UC basically changed the rules on the retirees, discriminating against them when compared to how "other" UC retirees from "other" campuses are treated.

THAT is the basis of this lawsuit. And I personally think it has some real merit. And quite frankly, I don't know what the big deal is to DOE or UC anyway. DOE is on the hook for the costs, whether they are provided through UC or LANS/LLNS.

Anonymous said...

March 15, 2015 at 10:37 PM
March 15, 2015 at 11:01 PM

Really? Do you understand what a CONTRACT is? Lab employees worked at the Labs, doing relatively dangerous and anonymous work in the best interest of the country, for wages that were probably lower than what they could have received in the private sector.

The university was their employer and part of their CONTRACT, a legal agreement, was the obligation of the university to provide a UC retirement, with all the benefits, guaranteed or not. That includes health benefits, if they are provided to the UC retiree population as a whole.

So why should UC retirees from the Labs have to pay more for their health benefits than retirees from other campuses? All the UC and DOE lawyers can try to dodge their obligations, but they owe it to the Lab UC retirees to treat them like other UC retirees because that was the deal.

Are you guys in the habit of making agreements (CONTRACTS) and then reneging on your obligations? Or are you just bitter that you never got such a deal and never will?

Anonymous said...

Just to add another example:
If you serve in the armed forces, you are promised VA benefits and other goodies.
I would like to see all the patriots scream their heads off, if we would renege on those promises.

And I am looking forward to see the Walmart cashiers join LANL, I know there are some management positions open and we know from experience that 's all it takes.

Building weapons or do science might be a different issue.

Anonymous said...

"The university was their employer and part of their CONTRACT" - 10:49 AM


And that CONTRACT became null and void once UC left as the manager of LLNL. It's the same as when one big corporation buys-out another corporation. Employees and retiree benefits are transferred to the new company.

Get a life and stop whining about the benefits you imagine you have lost. Most people in America have it much worse these days. Learn to lower your expectations like everyone else. The dreams of an easy retirement are over and many of the promises you imagined are not going to happen.


Anonymous said...

The dreams of an easy retirement are over and many of the promises you imagined are not going to happen.

March 16, 2015 at 10:57 PM

Sorry, Mr. Doom-and-Gloom, Your dreams may be over, but mine aren't. Please don't project your woe-is-me victimhood onto anyone else; it's depressing to those of us who are working hard, happy with our jobs, and satisfied with our pay and benefits. My retirement is right on track and looks to be pretty "easy."

Anonymous said...

"... Learn to lower your expectations like everyone else..."

LLNL employees with decades of service to this Country DID lower their salary expectations referenced to market, in trade for an attractive and stable employment and retirement benefits package. UC documentation of the time speaks to this.

Evil Echo said...

To the troll who posted at 10:57.

Your comments comparing LLNL employees to non-skilled jobs are both hateful and incorrect. And frankly I'm tired of you and your little circle of friends who take delight in making comments that do nothing but tear down the people that work or have worked at LLNL.

People spent all of the adult life in careers at LLNL. In many cases the job required advanced degrees as well as specialized learning for the job itself. They were required to submit to restrictions as part of a security clearance.

Walmart was not a target for a nuclear exchange. Walmart employees are not under observation by foreign governments. LLNL was at the center of the Cold War, doing a job just like the military.

And like any veteran, the retiree's deserve what was promised them - no weaseling about.

Anonymous said...

"To the troll who posted at 10:57.

Your comments comparing LLNL employees to non-skilled jobs are both hateful and incorrect. And frankly I'm tired of you and your little circle of friends who take delight in making comments that do nothing but tear down the people that work or have worked at LLNL.

People spent all of the adult life in careers at LLNL. In many cases the job required advanced degrees as well as specialized learning for the job itself. They were required to submit to restrictions as part of a security clearance.

Walmart was not a target for a nuclear exchange. Walmart employees are not under observation by foreign governments. LLNL was at the center of the Cold War, doing a job just like the military.

And like any veteran, the retiree's deserve what was promised them - no weaseling about.

March 17, 2015 at 12:20 PM"

Evil Echo, I am on your side and I believe what you are saying is correct however our leaders say very different things about the NNSA workers. Current management who want to ingratiate themselves to higher ups often imply a similar sentiment. The message is that the people do not matter. The poster may be troll but he is hardly alone in his thoughts. All I can say is that if our enemies have been looking at what has happened to the labs for the past 15 years they must be very pleased. Can someone give any kind argument about the value added by privatizing the labs. I have never been given an answer to this question other than certain mangers saying that the whole world is corrupt so why should we be special. That is an excuse for the justification for their behavior it is no an answer to the original question. Below are some statements from some other "trolls".

"This willful flouting of the rules must stop, and I don't care how many people I have to fire to make it stop". Nanos is also quoted as saying, "If I have to restart the laboratory with 10 people, I will". Pete Nanos, this was a total lie but it was convenient for him to say it.

Asked by Representative David Loebsack (D-Iowa) to sum up the cultural impediment to security at the nuclear weapons facility, Bodman responded bluntly.

""Arrogance," he said. "Arrogance of the chemists and physicists and engineers who work at Los Alamos and think they're above it all." US Secretary of Energy Bodman


Taken from testimony to the committee: "I believe there is something about the Los Alamos culture that we have not yet beaten into submission." Another Committee member's comments seem to condone the use of fear tactics: " I was an FBI agent before I did this in the late 80's.quite frankly I want a scientist afraid of these people. If they came wandering by, I want them worried that they're not going to be working there on something that they 've dedicated their lives to… "


"a belief amongst some very powerful people in Congress that academic culture and running a high security national laboratory are totally incompatible and scientists can't be trusted."

Anonymous said...

2015.75 is right around the corner. I can't wait.

POS

March 19, 2015 at 4:44 PM

Yeah, sleep soundly in your underground shelter with your freeze dried food and your guns. Meanwhile the rest of us will be going on with life and it will only take the cops about a day or so to smoke you out and "accidentally" kill you as you emerge bleary eyed into the daylight of actual reality.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused about the merits of the LLNS/UC retiree health benefits lawsuit. Last I checked, the UC health benefits package for retirees was significantly reduced compared to the LLNS retiree benefits package. Or so this was proposed by UC in 2013.

Am I wrong ? I personally wished to opt out but never received the notice in the mail. I think that current LLNS members and recent retirees should refuse the lawsuit and support the UC Counsel in fighting it !

Anonymous said...


This case is based on precedent already established by the State Supreme Court in the following ruling. Orange County retirees were carved out of their Health plan and "contracted" out to an inferior plan run by an inferior
company. Sound familiar?

Here is the case...

Retired Employees Association of Orange County, Inc. v. County of Orange
(9th Cir. 2010) 610 F.3d 1099; California Rules of Court, rule 8.548.

Summary:
under California Rules of Court, rule 8.548, that this court decide questions of California law presented in a matter pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. As stated by the Ninth Circuit, the question presented is: "Whether, as a matter of California law, a California county and its employees can form an implied contract that confers vested rights to health benefits on retired county employees."

Link to the case:
http://www.kmtg.com/node/2622

UC should fold the tent and settle. This case is already established law. An "Implied" contract is still a contract.

NEXT UP?

Another lawsuit by the pool of employees who were hired before Jan. 1, 1990, who only had to be at the lab 10 years to be fully "vested" in the retiree medical plan. That pool was fully vested by 2000. A full 6 years before LLNS and the Wrecktel mafia took over. Many in this pool either retired after transition or still work at the lab.

Note To Regents, cut your losses, and take all employees who were fully vested in the UCRP before transition back into the UC health system and cut your losses....You wont win this one.

BOOYAAA!!!


Anonymous said...

March 24, 2015 at 6:32 PM

So much irrational exuberance, so little understanding or intelligence. If you have to call names while you state your argument, you have no argument. Just juvenile fantasies.

Anonymous said...

Nevertheless, UC retiree health benefits today are worse than the LLNS benefits as of 2015. If you worked 20 years under UC/LLNS you would receive 100% vested benefit, while under UC alone at 20 years you would receive 80%. Depends on age and total years of service, but UC watered down their coverage in 2013 so that UC employees would have to work 30 years minimum and retire at 65. Am I wrong ?

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