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Supreme Court to Again Weigh in on Retiree Healthcare

October 6th, 2014

As a follow up to a case reported in the April edition of Legal and Legislative Update, the Illinois Supreme Court has accepted review of Matthews v. CTA et al. 2014 IL App (1st) 1123348.  That case involved retired CTA employees who filed suit to contest the diminishment of their healthcare benefits by legislation passed in 2008 as an unconstitutional diminishment of their pension benefits.  The Appellate Court found the union contract vested the retirees healthcare benefits and therefore did not address the Constitutional issue.  It noted the Kanerva case pending before the Illinois Supreme Court at the time and remanded the matter to the trial court with instructions to await the Illinois Supreme Court’s determination.  In contrast to the Kanerva case dealing with state retiree healthcare benefits, the Matthews case involved health care benefits vesting under the collective bargaining agreement.  It will be interesting to see how the Illinois Supreme Court treats the difference between contracted for healthcare benefits compared to statutorily granted benefits.