A Circuit Cash Balance Decision
I don't handle pension cases very often in my ERISA practice. Consequently, I don't blog about them much. But the Seventh Circuit decision in Cooper v. IBM Personal Pension Plan, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 20128, from last week is important as the first Circuit court to weigh in on whether cash balance pension plans violate ERISA's age discrimination standards. The court sustained the manner in which IBM structured its pension plan, ruling against the plaintiffs' assertions that the cash balance design illegally favors younger workers. The cash balance pension idea is relatively new, complex and almost certain to face review by the Supreme Court sooner or later. There's a lot of money at stake.