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If the Class Member to whom the Notice is addressed is deceased, a court-appointed estate representative, surviving spouse or relative of the deceased Class Member (“Estate Representative”) may be entitled to receive the Class Member’s individual settlement amount by following the instructions set forth included with the Notice.
The Court has not decided this Lawsuit in favor of the Class or Defendants. While you may be aware that there have been various rulings by the Court throughout this litigation in favor of either the Class or Defendants, the Court never issued a final ruling resolving the claims or defenses of the parties in the Lawsuit. Instead of continuing the litigation and obtaining a final decision, both sides have agreed to a Settlement. By settling, they avoid the costs and delay of a trial and likely appeals, and settlement benefits go to the Class Members now. The Class Representatives and Class Counsel feel strongly that this Settlement is in the best interests of the Class Members, taking into account the benefits of the Settlement, the uncertain outcome and the risks of continuing to litigate this highly complex case, and the extensive delay in obtaining relief for the Class if the Lawsuit continues, even if Plaintiffs prevail.
The principal terms of the proposed Settlement are as follows:
A. Settlement Fund: If the Settlement Agreement gains final approval from the Court, the Trust will pay $80,000,000 to fully and finally settle the entire case. This is the total amount that will be paid on behalf of all Defendants to settle the case.
Before the Settlement funds are divided among the Class Members and their Estate Representatives, amounts approved by the Court will be deducted for the following:
(a) the cost to send the Notice and distribute the settlement funds (“Notice and Administration Expenses”);
(b) any taxes owed by the Settlement Fund;
(c) up to 33⅓ percent of the Settlement Fund for the attorneys’ fees of Class Counsel for their work on the case for 15 years;
(d) reimbursement of approximately $480,000 of costs and expenses advanced by Class Counsel in the case; and
(e) a combined total of up to $75,000 for Service Awards to the three Class Representatives (or their heirs) to compensate them for their substantial time and effort in prosecuting the case and making the Settlement possible.
The amount of Settlement Funds remaining after the above deductions is referred to as the “Net Settlement Fund.”
B. Settlement Payments: Each Class Member will be eligible to receive a payment from the Net Settlement Fund in accordance with the Plan of Distribution set forth below in the Notice.
C. Release: Each Class Member will release certain claims against Defendants and their Related Parties (as defined in the Settlement Agreement). This is referred to as the “Release.” If the Settlement is approved, all Class Members will be deemed to have released any and all claims that were brought or could have been brought in the Lawsuit. This includes claims arising from the charging of premiums by the Trust for retiree health coverage both in the past and the future, subject to the anti-discrimination provision described below in Section D. If final approval is given, you may not assert any of these claims in any other lawsuit or proceeding. This includes any other lawsuit or proceeding already in progress. The final judgment order entered by the Court in this case will bind all Class Members.
The Release is effective and binding as to every Class Member who did not request exclusion from the Class in accordance with the Class Notice sent in October 2020, regardless of whether the Class Member receives and cashes a settlement payment check.
D. Future Allowed Actions By the Plan and the Trust To Charge or Deduct Premiums: Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, for those Class Members who elect to obtain or continue coverage from the Trust in the future, the Trust may continue to charge a monthly premium and the Plan may continue to deduct those premiums from the pension checks of retirees who pay for health care coverage through a pension deduction. The Settlement Agreement has no impact on the Trust’s current (a) eligibility requirements for retiree coverage of Class Members, (b) eligibility requirements for dependents and surviving spouses of Class Members, or (c) ability to charge retirees a premium for individual retiree and/or dependent and surviving spouse health care coverage. This means the Trust may maintain or even increase the current premium levels charged to Class Members, their surviving spouses and dependents. The Settlement requires, however, that the Trust not discriminate against Class Members by imposing more stringent eligibility rules, or by charging Class Members higher premiums, deductibles, co-pays, or out-of-pocket limits for retiree, surviving spouse or dependent coverage, than it charges non-Class retirees who are similarly situated to Class Members.
E. Dismissal of the Lawsuit: All claims in the Lawsuit will be dismissed with prejudice.
Sections A-E above provide only a general summary of the proposed Settlement. You may consult the Settlement Agreement for more information about the exact terms of the Settlement. The Settlement Agreement is available in the Documents section of this website located here.
Class Members have the following options in responding to the Notice:
|You will receive a check for your final Individual
Settlement Amount and be bound by the Settlement Agreement. You will give up
the claims that are released by the Settlement Agreement.
|FILE A STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OR OBJECTION
|You may submit a timely written statement in support
of or objection to the Settlement. If the Settlement is approved despite any
objection you submit, you will remain a member of the Class and still give up
your rights to bring any claims that are released by the Settlement Agreement.
Class Members need not submit a statement in support of the Settlement to
obtain their Individual Settlement Amount.
The Proof of Kinship Form must be sworn in person before a Notary Public. If a proper Proof of Kinship Form is not submitted to the Claims Administrator, or if the Notice addressed to a deceased Class Member is returned as undeliverable to the Claims Administrator, no payment will be made from the Settlement Fund on behalf of the deceased Class Member unless, after reasonable investigation, the Claims Administrator is able to identify and locate the deceased Class Member’s court-appointed representative or next of kin.