Abels v. Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp. et al., (S.D. W.Va. 1993)

Co-counsel representing large aluminum manufacturers against class action claims filed on behalf of over 300 employees who were laid off and never recalled to work. The plaintiffs asserted that the defendants violated § 510 of ERISA by terminating them in order to prevent vesting of their employee benefit plans, and sought job reinstatement and massive awards damages for lost wages and lost benefits, as well as punitive damages. In ruling of the defendants’ pretrial motions, the court denied class certification, concluded that § 510 did not provide a right to extra-contractual relief or punitive damages in an ERISA action seeking enforcement through § 502(a), and held that the employees did not have a right to a jury trial. The parties then settled the case on terms viewed as very favorable by Kaiser and Ravenswood.