Cases & Deals

GM wins Sixth Circuit appeal affirming dismissal of ERISA "top hat" litigation

Client(s) General Motors LLC

On August 6, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in favor of Jones Day's client, General Motors LLC ("GM"), and affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by 113 former executives over changes made to an executive retirement plan during the bankruptcy of General Motors Corporation. The former executives claimed that GM improperly reduced their retirement benefits by misinterpreting the plan -- known as a "top hat" plan because it covers a select group of highly compensated employees -- after GM assumed the plan following the bankruptcy. The executives brought suit in 2011. GM immediately moved to dismiss the case, and the district court granted GM's motion. In unanimously affirming the district court's judgment, the Sixth Circuit agreed with GM that the key plan provision at issue was unambiguous, and that GM's interpretation of the provision was the only reasonable one.

Tate, et. al. v. General Motors LLC, No. 12-1214 (6th Cir. Aug. 6, 2013)