Teresa Renaker will speak at ALI CLE’s annual advanced course on Employee Benefit Plans of Tax-Exempt and Governmental Employers, to be held October 24 and 25, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Ms. Renaker will join a panel on “Counselling Clients Through the Claims Process With an Eye Toward Litigation.” View the course brochure here.
All three Renaker Hasselman Scott partners have been selected to 2019 Northern California Super Lawyers lists. Teresa Renaker appears on Super Lawyers’ lists of the Top 100 Lawyers in Northern California and the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Northern California. This is Ms. Renaker’s eighth consecutive year on the Top 100 list and her eleventh consecutive year on the Top 50 Women list. Margo Hasselman Greenough was named to the Top 50 Women Lawyers list for the third year, and Ms. Renaker, Ms. Hasselman Greenough, and Kirsten Scott were all selected to Super Lawyers in the Employee Benefits/ERISA category.
On May 16, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision in favor of David Reed, reversing a lower court decision finding that the KRON/IBEW Local 45 Pension Plan did not have to provide him with spousal survivor benefit, even though David was the registered domestic partner of a former KRON4 employee, Donald Gardner. David is represented by Renaker Hasselman Scott LLP and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
The plan argued that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) foreclosed it from recognizing David as Donald’s spouse, and the district court granted judgment in its favor.
The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court, holding that “[t]he Committee abused its discretion by denying benefits to Reed. During either time the Committee evaluated the Plan’s benefits in this case—in 2009 or in 2016—California law afforded domestic partners the same rights, protections, and benefits as those granted to spouses.”
Read the press release
Read the Ninth Circuit decision
In April 2019, Renaker Hasselman Scott succeeded in getting a public employer and CalPERS to recognize nearly fifteen years of CalPERS pension service credit for an employee who had been misclassified for years. Although our client had worked continuously for the county employer, under similar working conditions as co-workers who were classified as permanent employees, the county had misclassified him for years – first as an independent contractor, and then as a temporary employee.
An amended complaint filed March 29 in Bafford, et al. v. Northrop Grumman Corp., et al., alleges that Northrop Grumman and its outside administrator, Hewitt Associates LLC (now known as Alight Solutions LLC), violated federal and state law by persistently overstating the pension benefits earned by certain Northrop Grumman employees.
Plaintiffs Stephen Bafford and Evelyn Wilson each worked for Northrop Grumman in the 1980s and 1990s, then worked for TRW Corporation, and then returned to Northrop Grumman employment when Northrop Grumman acquired TRW in 2002. For years before each Plaintiff retired from Northrop Grumman, the Defendants provided them with pension benefit statements that showed their pensions being calculated on the basis of their highest three years of pay from their second period of Northrop Grumman employment.
But in early 2017, Defendants notified each Plaintiff that their pensions would be reduced by more than 50 percent because the pensions should have been calculated based on earnings from each Plaintiff’s first period of Northrop Grumman employment. Defendants further demanded repayment of pension amounts already paid to Plaintiffs, including more than $35,000 demanded from Ms. Wilson.
Plaintiffs allege that by misinforming them about their pension benefit amounts, Defendants violated provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and, alternatively, that Hewitt acted negligently in miscalculating the pensions and providing the erroneous pension benefit statements. Plaintiffs allege that the error was systemic, affecting numerous Northrop Grumman employees. Plaintiffs seek certification of a class of current and former Northrop Grumman employees whose benefits under Northrop Grumman’s pension plans were miscalculated.
Renaker Hasselman Scott LLP and Kantor & Kantor, LLP represent the Plaintiffs.
Read the Amended Complaint here.
For questions about the case, please contact Teresa Renaker, email@example.com, Elizabeth Hopkins, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Susan Meter, email@example.com.
On November 14, Kirsten Scott gave a training on overpayments of ERISA-governed benefits for the AIDS Legal Referral Panel, explaining the relevant statutes and agency guidance, and the claims and defenses that plan participants may have when an employer-sponsored plan — or its insurer — asserts that it has overpaid benefits.
Teresa Renaker was chosen to be recognized in the 25th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America for her high caliber of work in the practice area of Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law. This is the fourth year in a row that Best Lawyers has recognized Ms. Renaker.
Northern California 2018 Super Lawyers recognized Teresa Renaker on its Top 100 Lawyers list for the seventh year in a row. Teresa Renaker and Margo Hasselman Greenough were also listed among the Top 50 Women and the top Employee Benefits lawyers.
Renaker Hasselman Scott LLP recently achieved a significant win for a client where a pension plan claimed that it overpaid his pension benefits for more than three years, through no fault of his own, and demanded that he refund the benefits. In July 2018, the court granted our client’s motion to dismiss, finding that the pension plan had waived its right to recoup the overpayment. Moon v. Board of Trustees of the PAMCAH-UA Local 675 Pension Fund, — F. Supp. 3d —, 2018 WL 3805917 (N. D. Cal. 2018).
Renaker Hasselman Scott LLP has received three victories in the past five months in disability pension cases before the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System (SFERS). In each of these cases, after an evidentiary hearing, the Administrative Law Judge determined that our client was entitled to disability pension benefits, which resulted in an award of past-due and prospective benefits.