Judge: UC Not Bound To Offer Health Benefits to Livermore Lab Retirees
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch recently ruled that the University of California does not need to provide UC-sponsored health benefits to retirees of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, whose medical benefits changed after the lab came under new management, California Watch reports.
The retirees had started working at the Livermore lab while it was under UC management, but retired before 2007 when the lab came under a new operator.
In August, several lab retirees filed a petition for a writ of mandate alleging that the UC Board of Regents had breached its contract by transferring their health benefits to the new entity.
The retirees claimed that UC had improperly separated them from the larger population of UC retirees, which led them to face higher premiums and copayments for their medical coverage.
Details of the Ruling
In his decision, Roesch ruled that none of the documents presented by the plaintiffs' attorneys constituted a contract guaranteeing lifetime participation in the medical plan for UC employees.
He wrote that "none of the handbook or booklet excerpts contain language clearly promising petitioners lifetime medical benefits at a specific level of benefits (or at all) in exchange for employment."
Considering an Appeal
Joe Requa -- a former Livermore lab scientist who led the legal challenge -- said he plans to confer with the other plaintiffs to determine whether they will appeal Roesch's ruling (Perez, California Watch, 6/8).
Requa estimates that the plaintiffs would need to raise about $75,000 to file an appeal (Bohan, Contra Costa Times, 6/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.