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Citgo Retirees’ Mortality Table Data Suit Heads To Trial


May 6, 2024

An Illinois federal judge refused Monday to grant Citgo a win in three retirees’ proposed class action accusing the fuel company of shortchanging retirees by using outdated metrics to calculate early retirement payouts, saying the questions that remain are best suited for trial.

U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly largely denied a motion for summary judgment from Citgo, its benefits committee and its retirement plans in Leslie Urlaub, Mark Pellegrini and Mark Ferry’s Employee Retirement Income Security Act lawsuit.

When Citgo converted retirees’ benefits from a single life annuity, or SLA, to a joint and survivor annuity, or JSA — which provides benefits to a retiree’s spouse in the event of their death — it relied on mortality tables from the 1970s to make those calculations, the former Citgo employees alleged in their August 2021 lawsuit.

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Michelle C. Yau, who represents the retirees, told Law360: “We are very pleased by the judge’s ruling that our clients’ claims against Citgo may proceed to trial. Married retirees and their beneficiaries deserve to receive accurate pension payments after years of hard work and should not be shortchanged or subjected to a ‘marriage penalty.'”

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

Read Citgo Retirees’ Mortality Table Data Suit Heads To Trial.