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AT&T Workers Challenging Pensions Keep Case in California

Bloomberg Law

April 8, 2021

AT&T Inc. failed Thursday to convince a federal judge in California to transfer to Texas or dismiss it from a proposed class action brought by employees who challenge the way the company calculates certain pensions.

Six former workers sued in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in October, claiming AT&T shortchanges the pensions of workers who retire before age 65 or choose pension formats that pay benefits to their surviving spouses after their deaths. That lawsuit came one month after a similar case was dismissed for lack of standing.

AT&T sought to transfer the case to the Northern District of Texas in January, arguing that the plan is administered in Texas and is governed by the laws of that state. The telecommunications giant also argued that the plaintiffs wrongly joined AT&T Inc. as a defendant because it is not the plan’s administrator.

But Judge James Donato denied both arguments in a brief oral order after holding a remote hearing Thursday. He said AT&T had failed to show that the plaintiffs’ choice of forum was improper and ruled that AT&T Inc. wouldn’t be dismissed at this stage of litigation.

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The plaintiffs are represented by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and Feinberg Jackson Worthman & Wasow LLP.

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