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GM Prevails Over Retirees

(CN) - Former General Motors employees who are disabled do not have standing under the Americans with Disabilities Act to sue GM for post-employment fringe benefits, because they do not work or want to return to work, the 6th Circuit ruled.

Leroy McKnight, Nicholas Klayo, and Robert Griffin sued GM because it reduced retirement benefits after they applied for and received Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. They claimed that GM's pension plan violated the ADA and ERISA because it did not provide equal access to benefits.

In granting GM's motion for summary judgment, the 6th Circuit ruled that the plaintiffs didn't have standing under Title I of the ADA and that the ERISA claim failed because the plaintiffs had equal access to the pension plan.

"As the majority of courts have held, Title I is unambiguous; by its plain language, it does not apply to former employees who are unable to perform the essential functions of their jobs," Judge Julia Gibbons wrote in affirming the district court's decision.

The 6th Circuit ruled that because the plaintiffs did not "desire" to return to work they did not have standing.

The court added that even if the former employees had standing under the ADA their claims would fail because even if the plan provided different benefits for different disabilities, each employee had access to the same plan with the same type of coverage.

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