Friday, March 3, 2017
UC Ordered to Provide LLNL Retiree List
March 2, 2017 12:00 am The Independent
Superior Court Judge George Hernandez last week gave the University of California 30 days to provide a full list of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory retirees and their survivors who might benefit from the class action lawsuit aimed at returning them to University health benefits.
Hernandez’s order came after months of back and forth debate over whether UC incorrectly left names off the list when the class action was certified on Oct. 30, 2014. The retirees formed a grassroots organization, raised funds and sued in 2010 after they lost UC health care following a late 2007 contract change. As a result of that change, a private organization, Lawrence Livermore National Security, or LLNS, took over management of the big laboratory.
In a key ruling in 2015, Judge Hernandez found that UC had clearly intended to make health care commitments to its retirees and had actually done so.
The task of establishing the lawsuit class has proved challenging; that is, specifying who might be entitled to benefit from the lawsuit, should the retirees prevail. The job has been made more difficult by University privacy rules, by a lack of clarity over the exact date when retirees lost their right to UC health care and by the existence of records at both UC and the new contractor, LLNS.
UC attorneys maintained that the list the University provided in October 2014 was sufficient. Retiree attorneys argued that it was not and that the delay in compiling a complete list is having damaging consequences, with more than 200 potential beneficiaries dying since the class was established.
Last week’s ruling by Judge Hernandez supports the retiree position. Assuming a complete list is provided as ordered, the retirees group will then be able to notify those who are living and the heirs and estates of those who have died that they are potential members of a class that could benefit from the lawsuit.