Canadian Manufacturing

Court rules in favour of company trying to shift health costs

Retirees of the Point Pleasant Polyester Plant in West Virginia may soon have to pay for health benefits

WASHINGTON—A unanimous Supreme Court is ordering lower courts to take a new look at a dispute over a chemical company’s efforts to cut costs in its health plan for retired workers.

Justice Clarence Thomas on January 26 wrote the court’s opinion that threw out a judgment in favour of the retirees of the Point Pleasant Polyester Plant in Apple Grove, W.V. M&G Polymers USA LLC is the current owner of the facility.

In the case M&G Polymers USA LLC v. Tackett, 13-1010, lower courts ruled that some retirees had been promised lifetime, cost-free health benefits.

The Supreme Court did not decide whether the courts came to the right conclusion, only that they employed faulty legal reasoning in interpreting a 15-year-old agreement dealing with retiree pensions and other benefits.

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