On September 30, 2004, former and current employees of FleetBoston Financial Corporation filed a lawsuit under ERISA against FleetBoston in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. The Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as attorney fees and costs. Plaintiffs claimed that they were negatively impacted when FleetBoston changed its Pension Plan to one based on a cash balance formula.
The Court (Judge Janet C. Hall) granted in part and denied in part Defendant's motion to dismiss on March 31, 2006. The Court dismissed Counts II, III, and VI in their entirety. It further granted the motion to dismiss as to all claims pursuant to ERISA § 503(a)(1)(B). However, the Court denied the motion to dismiss as to the remaining claims in Counts I, IV, and V. Richards v. FleetBoston Fin. Corp., 427 F. Supp. 2d 150 (D. Conn. 2006).
Also on March 31, 2006, the Court certified Plaintiffs' class under 23(b)(2). The class was defined as follows: people who "(a) are former or current Fleet employees who on December 31, 1996 [the day before the Amended Plan's effective date] were not at least age 50 with 15 years of vesting service, and (b) participated in the Fleet Pension Plan before January 1, 1997, and (c) have participated in the Fleet Pension Plan at any time since January 1, 1997." Richards v. FleetBoston Fin. Corp., 235 F.R.D. 165 (D. Conn. 2006).
On July 24, 2006, the Court granted Defendant's second motion to dismiss with respect to Count II and the part of Count V premised on the Summary Plan Description's (SPD) lack of an explanation of how benefit accruals under the plan are reduced by advancing age. The Court denied the motion with respect to the remaining parts of Count V. Richards v. FleetBoston Fin. Corp., 2006 WL 2092086 (D. Conn. Jul. 24, 2006).
On October 16, 2006, the Court granted Plaintiffs' motion for amended class certification and certified the proposed class pursuant to Rule 23(b)(2) and Rule 23(b)(1)(A). Further, the Court denied Defendant's motion to certify the SPD class (Count IV) under Rule 23(b)(2). Richards v. FleetBoston Fin. Corp., 238 F.R.D. 345 (D. Conn. 2006).
Also on October 16, 2006, the Court denied Defendant's motions for a certificate of appealability or for reconsideration of the decision in which the Court refused to dismiss Count I of the Complaint. The Court found that an interlocutory appeal was not appropriate because it would not help to avoid protracted litigation, nor was this an exceptional or rare circumstance. The Court denied the motion to reconsider because it found that the statutory language in question was unambiguous. Richards v. FleetBoston Fin. Corp., 2006 WL 3000768 (D. Conn. Oct. 16, 2006).
The Court preliminarily approved the class settlement between the parties on April 24, 2008. Including attorneys' fees and incentives for class representatives, the total monetary payment to the class totaled $83,401,000.
On October 15, 2008, the Court granted final approval to the settlement and dismissed the case. By a separate order on the same day, the Court granted Plaintiffs' attorneys about $17.5 million in fees and costs. The Court also granted $15,000 to the class representative.
The case was closed in October 2008. There was some later litigation related to bonding issues, but the case is now complete.Haley Waller - 08/19/2010