Cockerill, et al. v. Corteva, Inc. DuPont Specialty Products USA, LLC, et al.
United States District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Case No. 21-cv-03966-MMB
Plaintiffs are participants in the Corteva Pension and Retirement Plan, formerly the U.S. DuPont Pension and Retirement Plan (the “Plan”). Plaintiffs brought this action on their own behalf and on behalf of all similarly situated participants, their beneficiaries, and estates, pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §1001 et seq. (“ERISA”) seeking, for themselves and on behalf of one or more classes of Plan participants and their beneficiaries, declaratory, permanent injunctive and other appropriate equitable and remedial plan-wide relief.
The Plan was created in 1904 and is one of the oldest retirement Plans in the United States. On December 11, 2015, the 217-year-old E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company announced its intent to merge with Dow Chemical Company. The merger of Dow and DuPont closed on August 31, 2017, creating the combined entity DowDuPont. The merger was designed to combine the two entities and then spin-off into three separate public companies: Corteva, Inc., focusing on agricultural chemicals, a new Dow, Inc., focusing on materials science, and a new DuPont de Nemours, Inc., focusing on specialty product industries, the industry in which the Plaintiffs worked.
After the corporate spin-off and related transactions, Defendants improperly deprived Plaintiffs and the putative class members of certain early retirement benefits and optional retirement benefits expressly contemplated by the Plan and for which Plaintiffs and the putative class members counted on for many years, putting their own interests in front of the interests of class members in direct violation of ERISA and the terms of the Plan.
Plaintiffs are current and former employees of DuPont Specialty Products who allege they were denied early retirement benefits and or optional retirement benefits after the 2019 DowDuPont spin-off that created three separate public companies: Corteva, Inc.; Dow, Inc.; and DuPont de Nemours, Inc. Plaintiffs allege that the spin-off was a strategy to deprive long-term employees of the benefits they earned through decades of service to their employer, in violation of ERISA’s protective purposes.
Edward Stone, Esq. of Edward Stone Law P.C., is working with Elizabeth Hopkins, Esq., Susan L. Meter, and Jacklyn Conover, Esq. of Kantor & Kantor, LLP and Daniel M. Feinberg, Esq. and Nina Wasow, Esq. of Feinberg, Jackson, Worthman & Wasow, LLP on this class action lawsuit.
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This case is pending in the United States District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania under Case No. 21-cv-03966-MMB.
On August 4, 2022, the Honorable Michael M. Baylson denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss the Complaint, stating:
“Reading the Complaint fairly, Plaintiffs have alleged conduct by the Defendants that could be in violation of ERISA, depending on the quality of proof, and rulings on the interpretation of the Plan, after discovery. From Third Circuit precedent, as cited by Plaintiffs, the Court must allow discovery on ERISA allegations that suggest misleading conduct and misrepresentations, as plaintiffs have done here. The so-called “spin off” might have been a strategy to deprive long-term employees of benefits they had reason to expect. ERISA provides for equitable remedies if plaintiffs are able to prove their claims.”