Knowlton v. Anheuser-Busch, No. 15-3538 (8th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff and eight others filed a class action against Anheuser-Busch under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq. Plaintiffs are participants in the Anheuser-Busch salaried employee pension plan and claim that they are entitled to enhanced pension benefits. At issue is the interpretation of Section 19.11(f) of the plan. Determining that it has jurisdiction over the appeal, the court concluded that Section 19.11(f) is unambiguous and agreed with the district court's adoption of the reasoning in the Sixth Circuit's case, Adams v. Anheuser-Busch Cos., that Section 19.11(f) entitled plaintiffs to enhanced benefits. Although the court affirmed on the merits, the court agreed with plaintiffs that the decision still must be reversed and remanded because the district court failed to make individual calculations of enhanced benefits owed to individual members of the class. Therefore, the court reversed and remanded with instructions to reconsider plaintiffs' prayer for relief and, to the extent requested and provable, calculate and award the benefits owed to plaintiffs by applying Section 19.11(f). The court noted that, upon remand, the district court may reconsider whether certain records will assist in its calculation of the requested benefits.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on February 23, 2017.