The Supreme Court gave a partial victory to CIGNA Corp. on Monday, setting aside a ruling that required the company to recalculate the benefits for 27,000 workers.
The dispute stemmed from CIGNA’s 1998 conversion of its pension plan into a cash balance plan. The workers said they didn’t realize at the time that most of them would lose money as a result of the conversion. Two lower courts said workers were entitled to additional benefits.
The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously set aside those rulings, saying the workers needed to show that they were harmed by CIGNA’s violation of a federal employee benefits law. The justices stopped short of requiring the workers to show that they relied on plan summaries that a trial judge concluded were misleading.
CIGNA froze its cash balance plan in 2009. As of Sept. 30, 2010, that plan had about $3 billion in assets. The firm also had about $2.6 billion in defined contribution assets at that time.