Cash Balance Settlement Gets Court Approval

A settlement of two cash balance pension challenge suits against JPMorgan Chase has won final approval from a federal judge. 

U.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York signed off on the agreement covering approximately 100,000 plaintiffs in the two class actions under which the company will provide a year of financial planning services.  

One of the suits alleged Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) violations in that the cash balance plan of a company now part of JPMorgan Chase discriminated against older workers and had not provided an adequate notice when the plan was converted from a defined benefit program.   The second suit also alleged the cash balance program of another company later merged into JPMorgan Chase violated ERISA’s notice requirements (see Court Sends Slimmed-Down Cash Balance Suit on its Way).  

The settlement applies to employees who had a vested benefit in JPMorgan’s cash balance plan or in a plan from one of JPMorgan’s predecessor companies.  

Cote also approved a plaintiffs’ request for $600,000 in costs and expenses.  

The case is In re JPMorgan Chase Cash Balance Litigation, S.D.N.Y., No. 06-cv-0732 (DLC)(THK).