Delphi retirees ask for review

Seek return of pensions in latest court action

Delphi salaried retirees trying to have their full pensions restored continue to take the fight to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

This time, they are asking a federal appeals court to review the latest unfavorable court ruling.

The group has asked the U.S. 6th Circuit of Appeals to reconsider its ruling in September that sided with a lower federal court to dismiss the retirees’ 2009 lawsuit against the PBGC over lost retirement funding.

The court can accept or deny the petition — a decision that could come within the next couple weeks.

“It could be just a three-judge panel or it could be en banc, which means everybody, all of the 6th circuit judges would take a look at it,” said Chuck Cunningham, legal liaison for the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association.

Friday was the 45-day deadline for filing the request to rehear the case.

Delphi, formerly Packard Electric that at one time was part of General Motors’ parts division, filed for bankruptcy in October 2005 and emerged four years later. While Delphi was in bankruptcy protection in 2009, it relinquished responsibility for all of its employee pensions to PBGC.

General Motors continued contributing to union-represented retirees, but salaried retirees were left with substantially reduced pensions. Those salaried retirees have argued the administration of former President Barack Obama ignored them while guiding GM through its own 2009 bankruptcy.

About 20,000 pensioners, including some 1,500 local people, were impacted.

The court determined earlier that the PBGC did not need court approval to terminate the Delphi salaried workers’ pension fund, did not violate their due process rights or act recklessly in making the decision.

Thursday’s request lays out two arguments the group wants the court to reconsider: due process and that the termination was “arbitrary and capricious.”

“The leadership looked at what our odds were of getting this done and looked at what kind of case we had … and it looked like we had two points of law that really stood out that they missed. So we felt that the right thing was to do the rehearing petition and if that failed, we still have the ability to seek cert (certiorari) from the (U.S.) Supreme Court,” said Cunningham.

Certiorari in common parlance means when the Supreme Court agrees to review a case brought by a party challenging a lower court’s decision.

The group claims the panel applied an incorrect part of federal statue regarding its arbitrary and capricious claim, justifying “one thing to mean another,” Cunningham said. The group also claims there is already precedent by the high court regarding the group’s due process.

“We think we have a very good chance of getting a rehearing and winning it,” Cunningham said.

Meanwhile, intervention by the White House on behalf of the salaried group remains a consideration.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner earlier this month said President Donald Trump “is now considering” stepping into the matter on the side of the retirees. The Republican from Dayton made that statement after he and Gov. Mike DeWine asked the president to intervene while aboard Air Force One during Trump campaign visits in the state.


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