High Court Measures Up Yard-Man in Oral Arguments


Stuart M. Gerson, Member of the Firm in the Litigation and Health Care & Life Sciences practices, in the firm's Washington, DC, and New York offices, authored an article in Law360 titled “High Court Measures Up Yard-Man in Oral Arguments.” (Read full version- subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

On Nov. 10, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in M&G Polymers USA v. Tackett, a health benefits case that could affect companies profoundly in their ongoing labor relations and in the provision and maintenance of retiree health insurance coverage. The question in this case involves the so-called Yard-Man presumption, applied only in the Sixth Circuit in the context of whether the courts should infer that silence as to the duration of retiree health insurance benefits established under a collective bargaining agreement means that such health benefits are fully vested and apply for the lifetimes of covered retirees. M&G argued that, in the absence of clear language to the contrary, while the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and contract might mandate that underlying pension benefits have vested, the company’s obligation to fund retiree health care ceases when the collective bargaining agreement expires.