Participants in the IBM Personal Pension Plan may be impacted by this class action lawsuit. Please contact us if you would like to discuss how this case might affect your rights.


Summary of the Lawsuit

On June 2, 2022, Plaintiffs filed a complaint on behalf of a class of participants and beneficiaries of the IBM Personal Pension Plan, alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The complaint alleges that the IBM Personal Pension Plan uses outdated mortality tables to determine the value of joint and survivor annuities, resulting in married retirees receiving less than the actuarial equivalent of the benefit that ERISA protects. This lawsuit seeks to recover amounts due to members of the class, and to reform the IBM Personal Pension Plan to fully comply with the protections ERISA affords to pension plan participants and their beneficiaries. 

Class Action Allegations

As background, in a class action case, one or more individuals—called class representatives—file a lawsuit on behalf of themselves and other individuals who have similar legal claims. A class action allows the claims of a large number of people to be combined in one lawsuit and ensures that all similarly situated persons are treated equally. A judge must certify a case as a class action in order to protect all members of the class.

This lawsuit is brought on behalf of all participants and beneficiaries of the IBM Personal Pension Plan who are receiving a joint and survivor annuity (or, for beneficiaries whose spouse died before commencing benefits, a pre-retirement survivor annuity) which is less than the value of the single life annuity converted to a joint and survivor annuity using the interest rates and mortality tables set forth in 26 U.S.C. §417(e).

Status of the Litigation

Plaintiffs filed a Class Action Complaint on June 2, 2022, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (captioned Knight v. International Business Machines Corporation, et al., Case No. 7:22-cv-04592), where the case was assigned to the Honorable Nelson S. Roman. On August 15, 2022, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint which adds several new named plaintiffs.

Our Team

Partner Michelle Yau has spearheaded some of the most significant ERISA class actions in the nation, She combines dedication to protecting her clients’ retirement assets with rare insight into complex financial transactions and actuarial issues, informed by her Wall Street and government experience. Ms. Yau received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her B.A. from the University of Virginia.  

Laura Older Rockmore is an Associate at Cohen Milstein and a member of the firm’s Employee Benefits Practice Group. In this role, Ms. Rockmore represents the interests of employees, retirees, plan participants and beneficiaries in ERISA cases across the country. Ms. Rockmore received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her B.A., summa cum laude, from The Florida State University. 

Daniel R. Sutter is an Associate at Cohen Milstein and a member of the firm’s Employee Benefits practice group. Previously, he was a Legal Fellow in the firm’s Employee Benefits practice, where he investigated, developed, and drafted complaints against major financial institutions for ERISA violations. Mr. Sutter received his J.D. from the George Washington University Law School and his B.S. from George Washington University.

Whom to Contact for More Information

If you are a participant in the IBM Personal Pension Plan who selected to receive a Joint and Survivor Annuity (JSA), or if you have information which might assist us in the prosecution of these allegations, please contact:

Laura O. Rockmore, Esq. (email)
Michelle C. Yau, Esq. (email)
Daniel R. Sutter, Esq. (email)
Sydney Greenman, Paralegal (email)
Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC
1100 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20005
Telephone: 888-240-0775 (Toll Free) or 202-408-4600