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Martin & Bonnett, Phoenix Employment Lawyers
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Pension & Retirement Benefits Cases

ERISA Pension and Retirement Benefits Lawyers

Cases and Investigations

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) offers you many rights and imposes obligations on employers, unions and other pension plan sponsors. Our employment law attorneys help enforce those obligations.

We have litigated and are currently litigating numerous individual and class action cases regarding employees and retirees of private and public employers and against large and small companies, including cases against Honeywell, Motorola, Lockheed Martin, John Deere, General Dynamics, BP, collectively bargained plans, and employers in the financial services, defense, medical technology, security, transportation, pharmaceutical and dairy industries.

Martin & Bonnett has successfully handled a wide variety of ERISA pension and retirement cases. We have successfully litigated and are continuing to investigate cases involving:

  • Reduction in pension benefits following plan amendments
  • Improper calculation of benefits
  • Failure to provide the right amount of service, benefit and vesting credit
  • Suspension of benefits for returning to work after retirement
  • Breach of fiduciary responsibilities
  • Improper and inadequate disclosure of benefits and rights
  • “Lost” benefits, in cases where companies have merged or been sold, or pension plans have been discontinued
  • Failing to provide increased benefits for participants who work past normal retirement age
  • Offsets of pension benefits based on Social Security or other plan benefits
  • Claims of overpayments against retirees

Notable Pension and Retirement Cases

Our ERISA and employee benefit cases include the following:

Mary Wade and Marla Paddock v. Arizona State Retirement System: Including Employer Payments to Deferred Compensation Plans in Calculating Retirement Benefits. In a unanimous March 2017 decision, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that employer contributions to deferred compensation plans are compensation under the ASRS statute. As a result, current and former employees covered by the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) whose employers failed to treat employer-deferred compensation payments as ASRS compensation may be entitled to benefit increases.

Allen v. Honeywell Retirement Earnings Plan: Reducing Accrued Benefits through Plan Amendments and Offsets. Martin & Bonnett successfully negotiated a partial settlement of over $35 million in a nationwide class action lawsuit challenging plan amendments, benefit reductions and offsets. The parties also agreed to an additional $23 million in a court-approved final settlement.

Loewy v. Retirement Committee, Plan Administrator of The Motorola, Inc. Pension Plan: Benefit Offsets and Suspension of Benefits for Working Past Normal Retirement Age. Martin & Bonnett settled a pension class action case for $11.3 million in a case challenging the calculation a Social Security offset to reduce pension benefits and suspension of benefits for working past normal retirement age. This case was featured in The Wall Street Journal (“Retiree Runaround: Trying to Challenge a Benefits Decision,” July 19, 2005).

Becker v. Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust: Suspension of Benefits for Reemployment in the Industry. Martin & Bonnett successfully obtained a settlement of over $7 million in a class action, challenging suspension of retirement benefits for working in non-covered employment. Martin & Bonnett has also successfully represented retirees in other cases involving suspensions of retirement benefits and failure to provide appropriate plan credit for employees who work past their retirement age.

Burns v. Gatekeeper: Mishandling of Employee Pension Contributions. Martin & Bonnett obtained a settlement of over $1.7 million in a class action challenging a third party administrator’s imprudent handling of 403(b) and 457(b) plan benefits for school district employees. The settlement resulted in employees whose funds were improperly handled receiving 100% of their missing contributions and a substantial amount of interest.

Lyell v. Farmers Group Inc. Employees’ Pension Plan: Failure to Provide Vesting and Benefit Credit. Martin & Bonnett entered into a class action settlement of a case challenging how a pension plan computed service credit after participants had a “break in service.” Under the settlement, each of the settlement class members received 100% of the amount of additional benefits or additional credited service due, plus interest on all past payments.

Dominguez v. ASARCO: Refusal to Pay Unreduced Early Retirement Benefits. While the class action was pending, Martin & Bonnett’s efforts resulted in ASARCO paying the plaintiffs their pension benefits in full. The class action complaint alleged that ASARCO violated ERISA by failing to pay and/or by delaying payment of the plaintiffs’ “70/80” pension benefits, which were unreduced early retirement benefits.

Traylor v. AVNET: Lump Sum Benefits in Cash Balance Plan. Serving as co-counsel, Martin & Bonnett helped to achieve a $34 million settlement of a challenge to the eligibility for and calculation of lump sum benefits in a cash balance pension plan.

Allbaugh v. California Field Ironworkers Pension Trust. Martin & Bonnett has brought a class action on behalf of ironworker retirees alleging that their benefits were wrongfully suspended and that they are entitled to additional credit, both for working past age normal retirement age and for benefits earned by continuing to work. If your pension benefits were suspended for returning to work after retirement or would like to find out more about the ironworkers suit, please contact us

Frazier v. Honeywell International, Inc. Martin & Bonnett, together with co-counsel, has brought a class action on behalf of former Bendix employees and Bendix retirees who participated in the Bendix pension plan. The lawsuit claims that Bendix employees who transferred to or from other locations within the company were entitled to receive Bendix pension benefits at retirement, to the extent such benefits were greater than the benefits earned under other plans. The case asserts that AlliedSignal and/or Honeywell amended the plans in violation of ERISA, and that employees who worked for Bendix should receive benefits under the Bendix Pension Plan to the extent those benefits are higher than benefits earned under other plans. If you worked at a Bendix plan location, you might be in the class. To find out if you are covered by the class action, and to find out more about this lawsuit, please contact us. In your message, let us know you were at one time covered by the Bendix pension plan. 

Defending Retirees against Claimed Overpayments. Martin & Bonnett has represented several retirees (a) against claims that their benefits were overpaid or (b) who almost lost their pension benefits due to corporate restructuring. In one instance, a retired mine supervisor had been receiving a pension for 18 years and was 79 years old when he received a letter from the BP Retirement Accumulation Plan that stated he would no longer receive his benefits based on an alleged error and that he had accumulated an overpayment of $18,363.44. Martin & Bonnett worked on behalf of the retiree; his benefits were reinstated, and the claim for repayment was dropped. 

“Lost” Pension Benefits. Martin & Bonnett has successfully obtained pension benefits for numerous individuals who have been unable to collect pension benefits after corporate restructuring, mergers and plan terminations.

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