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“Citgo Must Face Early Retirees’ ERISA Suit”

Law360

February 24, 2022

An Illinois federal court on Tuesday denied Citgo Petroleum Corp.’s bid to throw out a proposed class action alleging the company’s use of outdated metrics to calculate early retirement payouts meant retirees were shortchanged benefits, determining the former workers made valid claims under federal benefits law.

In his opinion denying Citgo’s motion to dismiss Leslie Urlaub and Mark Pellegrini’s proposed class action, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly sided with the retirees’ interpretations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and found their allegations contending Citgo flouted multiple provisions of the law could survive the pleading stage.

The key issue at stake in the suit was whether the oil and gas company lowballed pension payouts to early retirees by relying on actuarial assumptions that were allegedly some 50 years out of date, the filings show.

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The plaintiffs are represented by Peter K. Stris, Rachana A. Pathak, Victor O’Connell and John Stokes of Stris & Maher LLP, Michelle C. Yau, Daniel J. Sutter, Carol V. Gilden and Mary J. Bortscheller of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, Todd Jackson and Nina Wasow of Feinberg Jackson Worthman & Wasow LLP and Shaun P. Martin of the University of San Diego School of Law.

The complete article can be accessed here.