January 01, 2013

NBC 5 & 2 - Southern Oregon and Northern California

Jeld-Wen is the target of a 650 thousand dollar lawsuit...filed by three former employees, who claim adjustments by the company reduced the value of their retirement packages.

The suit was filed in federal court in Medford on Wednesday.

The lawsuit claims that retroactive amendments made by Jeld-Wen to their employee stock ownership plan, or 'ESOP', were in violation of federal laws outlined in the 'employee retirement income security act of 1974', or 'ERISA'.

The suit claims those who retired prior to age 55 would receive benefits based on stock values at the time of their retirement.

Jeld-Wen made an adjustment in 2010 to base those benefits at current stock value...a drop of nearly 69%.

That would reduce the value of plaintiff Robert Jimerson's benefits by more than 490 thousand dollars, Philip Belloti's by more than 67 thousand dollars, and Bradley Snodgrass' benefits by more than 86 thousand dollars.

Jeld-Wen officials told KOBI that they will not comment on the lawsuit.

None of the plaintiffs currently live in the Klamath Falls area.

While only three plaintiffs are listed in the lawsuit, the outcome could trigger more legal challenges by others who are enrolled in Jeld-Wen's stock option retirement plan.

The suit lists Jeld-Wen President Rod Wendt and Vice-President Ron Saxton as primary defendants.

The plaintiffs are represented by the Washington D.C. law firm of Cohen, Milstein, Sellers, and Toll.