Judge rules in favor of Delphi retirees

WARREN – A federal judge has overruled objections by the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp., or PBGC, which took over pensions of Delphi salaried retirees, to hand over documents the retirees have been after for two years in a federal lawsuit.

The ruling is another small win for the thousands of retirees, including about 1,500 from the Warren area, who are fighting to have their full pensions restored.

It reinforces a ruling from August that also required the PBGC to provide the documents and states its claims of privilege in the case is inappropriate.

”PBGC has been under court order since March 9, 2012 to respond to Plaintiff’s discovery requests and has only asserted boilerplate objections. Filing boilerplate objections to discovery requests is tantamount to filing no objections at all,” Senior U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Tarnow wrote in his ruling Monday. ”The court strongly condemns the practice of asserting boilerplate objections to every discovery request.”

The earlier ruling in the 2009 case against the PBGC pending in federal court in Michigan ordered the records be turned over by Sept. 30, 2013, but PBGC appealed. Monday’s court ruling overruled their objections.

The retirees have been seeking all documents ”related to the potential PBGC recoveries in connection with the Delphi pension plans.”

A large percentage of the pensions were lost during Delphi’s 2009 bankruptcy despite the fact that hourly retirees at that time saw their pensions topped up and kept whole during the subsequent bankruptcy and government bailout of General Motors.

Delphi supplies electrical wiring parts for the Detroit automaker.

Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman was pleased with Monday’s ruling, saying in a news release he is ”very hopeful” it is a ”step toward regaining their financial security and bringing this matter to a long-overdue, fair and equitable resolution.”