Collective-Bargaining

Decision Alert: US Supreme Court Potentially Shifts the Balance in Healthcare Employee Benefits Litigation

Posted by Ryan Blaney on January 26, 2015
Supreme Court / No Comments

US Supreme Court SealJustice Clarence Thomas and a unanimous US Supreme Court decided to vacate a Sixth Circuit decision and hold that the federal courts cannot assume from silence in a union’s collective bargain agreement that retiree group health insurance benefits continue indefinitely.  The Supreme Court found that collective bargain agreements should be treated the same as other contracts when the principles are consistent with federal labor policy.

The Court rejected the UAW-Yard Man decision and accompanying long standing principle called the Yard-Man Rule which provided that in the absence of clear contractual language a collective bargain agreement vested retirees with lifetime benefits. The Supreme Court’s M&G Polymers v. Tackett USA decision is attached here.

Check back for more in-depth analysis and coverage on this decision and its impact on employee benefits litigation or feel free to contact Cozen O’Connor’s Health Law and Employee Benefits Teams.

Ryan Blaney

Ryan represents health care and life sciences clients in a wide range of litigation, regulatory, and transactional matters, but has particular experience in the areas of privacy law compliance and health care fraud litigation. In his regulatory and transactional practice, Ryan serves public and private health care companies, academic medical centers, health systems, hospitals and physician organizations, manufacturers, medical devices, information technology and health plans

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