University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Cooper v. IBM Personal Pension Plan EE-IL-0285
Docket / Court 3:99-cv-00829 ( S.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On October 16, 2005 the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit based on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §1001 against IBM Personal Pension Plan in United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs alleged that amendments made to ... read more >
On October 16, 2005 the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit based on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §1001 against IBM Personal Pension Plan in United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs alleged that amendments made to their pension plans when it was transformed from a traditional cash balance plan to a defined benefit plan based on a point system constituted age discrimination. Specifically they alleged that the changes were discriminatory because rather than defining benefits by salary at retirement the plan now defined benefits based on time served and salary and awarded interest to employees who left IBM before retirement. Hence the benefits for an employee who spent 20 years at IBM between the ages of 25 and 45 would be greater than those for an employee who spent 20 years at IBM at the same salary between the ages of 45 and 65. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought damages and attorneys' fees and costs.

On September 17, 2001 the district court (Judge Murphy) certified the suit as a class action and separated three classes depending on how long the relevant members had been with IBM. On July 31, 2003 the court granted the plaintiffs summary judgment and found that the pension plan did discriminate based on age. Before appeal the case moved to the determination of damages and two settlement agreements were reached with the subclasses and were approved by the court on January 10, 2005 and August 16, 2005. The settlement agreement set total damages to be paid to the plaintiff's and their attorneys at $1,714,293,000 should the district court's ruling regarding liability be upheld on appeal.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Easterbrook, Judge Bauer, and Judge Manion) heard arguments on February 16, 2006 and reversed the district court on August 7, 2006. The court held that the alleged age discrimination stemmed only from the effect of time on money through compound interest and that this did not constitute age discrimination. The case was concluded on January 16, 2007 when the Supreme Court denied plaintiffs' petition for a writ of certiorari.

Michael Perry - 08/21/2010


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Discrimination-basis
Age discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action None on record
Defendant(s) IBM Personal Pension Plan
Plaintiff Description All individuals who participated in the IBM Personal Pension Plan at any time after December 31, 1994.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2007
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
05-3588 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 01/22/2007
EE-IL-0285-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
3:99-cv-00829 (S.D. Ill.) 02/11/2008
EE-IL-0285-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Second Amended Complaint 10/16/2000
EE-IL-0285-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (Granting plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and denying defendant's motion to dismiss) 07/31/2003 (274 F.Supp.2d 1010) (S.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0285-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Final Order as to Subclass 3 01/10/2005 (S.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0285-0007.pdf | External Link | Detail
Memorandum and Order (Awarding fees and costs) 08/16/2005 (2005 WL 1981501 / 2005 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 17071) (S.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0285-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order (Approving settlement agreement as to subclasses 1 and 2). 08/16/2005 (S.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0285-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment in a Civil Case 08/16/2005 (S.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0285-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion (Reversing the District Court) 08/07/2006 (457 F.3d 636)
EE-IL-0285-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Judges Bauer, William Joseph (Seventh Circuit, N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0285-0008
Cohn, Gerald B. (S.D. Ill.) [Magistrate]
EE-IL-0285-9000
Easterbrook, Frank Hoover (Seventh Circuit)
EE-IL-0285-0008
Manion, Daniel Anthony (Seventh Circuit)
EE-IL-0285-0008
Murphy, G. Patrick (S.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0285-0003 | EE-IL-0285-0004 | EE-IL-0285-0005 | EE-IL-0285-0006 | EE-IL-0285-0007 | EE-IL-0285-9000 | EE-IL-0285-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Carr, William K. (Colorado)
EE-IL-0285-0001 | EE-IL-0285-9000
Evans, John (Colorado)
EE-IL-0285-9000
Freeman, Lee A. Jr. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0285-9001
Hill, Robert F. (Colorado)
EE-IL-0285-0001 | EE-IL-0285-9000
Katz, Steven A. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0285-0001 | EE-IL-0285-9000
Sprong, Douglas (Missouri)
EE-IL-0285-9000
Young, Jeffrey Neil (Maine)
EE-IL-0285-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hess, Frederick J (Illinois)
EE-IL-0285-9000
Horne, Michael (District of Columbia)
EE-IL-0285-9000
Huvelle, Jeffrey G. (District of Columbia)
EE-IL-0285-9000 | EE-IL-0285-9001
Remes, David (District of Columbia)
EE-IL-0285-9000
Rosenberg, Donald (New York)
EE-IL-0285-9000
Sonnenschein, Eric (District of Columbia)
EE-IL-0285-9000 | EE-IL-0285-9001
Vetter, Douglas (New York)
EE-IL-0285-9000
Wick, Robert (District of Columbia)
EE-IL-0285-9000
Other Lawyers Bruce, Stephen (District of Columbia)
EE-IL-0285-9001
Carr, Rex (Illinois)
EE-IL-0285-9000
Hamilton, Charles III (Louisiana)
EE-IL-0285-9000
Mason, Kent A. (District of Columbia)
EE-IL-0285-9001
McTeague, Patrick (Maine)
EE-IL-0285-9000
Signorille, Mary E. (District of Columbia)
EE-IL-0285-9001

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -