On March 9, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee dismissed a class action lawsuit against Cravath client Alcoa, Inc., following an eight-day bench trial held in September 2009. The lawsuit, brought by former employees of Alcoa and the Reynolds Metals Company who retired between June 1, 1993 and June 1, 2006, and their spouses and dependents, arose out of Alcoa’s 2006 collective bargaining agreement with the United Steelworkers Union, in which the parties agreed that, beginning on January 1, 2007, retirees would be required to make modest monthly contributions to the cost of their retirement health care benefits. Plaintiffs alleged that Alcoa breached its promise to provide unlimited medical benefits to its retirees at no cost for their lifetime, and that this alleged reduction in the retirees’ “vested” medical benefits violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Labor-Management Relations Act. The Court dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice.
The Cravath lawyers involved in this matter included partners Evan R. Chesler and Daniel Slifkin and associates Benjamin Gruenstein, Jisun Park and Rory A. Leraris.