Schumacher v. AK Steel Corp., No. 12-3061 (6th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Former employees of AK Steel filed a class action under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), including claims for a “whipsaw” calculation of their benefits from a pension plan in which they participated before terminating their employment. The employees were originally involved in a related class action that included identical claims against the same defendants, but were excluded from that litigation due to their execution of a severance agreement and release that each of them signed during the that litigation. The district court ruled in favor of the employees. The Sixth Circuit reversed an award of prejudgment interest for failure to consider case-specific factors, but otherwise affirmed denial of a motion to dismiss; class certification; and partial summary judgment on liability. The employees’s future pension claims were not released as a matter of law because the whipsaw claims had not accrued at the time of the execution of the severance agreements and because the scope of the contracts did not relate to future ERISA claims.