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Bush’s Attorney General Nominee Ruled in Cash-Balance Plan Case

September 19, 2007
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Related Topics: Miscellaneous Legal Issues, Retirement/Pensions, Latest News
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President Bush’s nominee to be the next U.S. Attorney General says cash-balance pension plans are not age discriminatory.

Judge Michael Mukasey, in a case involving a cash-balance plan offered by PricewaterhouseCoopers of New York, ruled last year that PwC’s plan did not discriminate against older employees. The plan, Judge Mukasey ruled, was age neutral “because each participant receives the same pay credit and interest credit each year.” That design is characteristic of cash-balance plans.

The ruling by Judge Mukasey, then of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, came in the wake of a unanimous decision—the first by a court of that level—by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that IBM Corp.’s cash-balance plan was not age discriminatory. Judge Mukasey, who retired from the federal judiciary shortly after the ruling to become a partner with the law firm Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler in New York, borrowed heavily from the appeals court decision in ruling that the plans do not discriminate against older employees.

President Bush named Mukasey to succeed Alberto Gonzalez, who resigned after he came under fire for his role last year in the dismissal of several U.S. attorneys.

Filed by Jerry Geisel of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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