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Case Brief

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Class actions alleging institution and implementation of liability avoidance scheme by employer operated to prevent employees from attaining eligibility for employee benefits in violation of Employee Retirement Income Security Act section proscribing interference with protected rights were consolidated, and single class action was certified. The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania entered judgment for employer after trial of liability phase of litigation. Employees appealed, and employer cross-appealed. The Court of Appeals, A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Circuit Judge, held that: (1) Pennsylvania six-year residuary statute of limitations governed the action; (2) employees were not required to exhaust arbitral remedies before bringing action; and (3) employees should not have been required to prove that “but for” employer's decision to abort their pension eligibility they would have remained at work. Reversed and remanded with directions. Procedural Posture(s): On Appeal


United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit


Adams, Weis, and A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr.


Michael H. Gottesman, (Argued), Bredhoff and Kaiser, Washington, D.C., Roslyn M. Litman, Litman, Litman, Harris & Brown, P.A., Pittsburgh, Pa., for Robert Gavalik, et al. and Albert J. Jakub, et al. Samuel W. Braver, James D. Morton, (Argued), Buchanan Ingersoll, Professional Corp., Pittsburgh, Pa., Eugene L. Stewart, (Argued), Stewart and Stewart, Washington, D.C., for Continental Can.

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