It is week seven of the pension lawsuit trial TEAM et al v. MTS Allstream – Queens Bench File No C1 99-01-14589, and we have finished giving our testimony.
The case has largely followed the published schedule, however some testimony and cross examination took a little longer than expected, and some of our witnesses have testified out of order.
We had a significant procedural victory on September 29, when Justice Bryk ruled that Mr Clifford Fox was an adverse witness. Justice Bryk’s 28 page Reasons for Decision can be viewed here. Mr Fox was the so called “Independent Actuary” retained by the Provincial Auditor to review the pension plan during the privatization of MTS. When MTS was privatized, Fox was appointed to ensure that the benefits provided in the new MTS Pension Plan were equivalent to the benefits in the government’s Civil Service plan. The declaration of adversity was very important to the plaintiffs as it enabled us to challenge Mr Fox’s independence.
Our expert witness, Mr Thomas D. Levy testified October 7 and 8. It was his opinion that the benefits in the new MTS Plan are not equivalent in value to the CSSA benefits as of the date of privatization. Mr Levy’s résumé is very impressive and he has the ability to explain extremely complex concepts in simple terms. In his report of June 24 2008 his argument is well laid out and relatively easy to understand and is recommended reading for plan members who are interested in the detail of this case.
MTS is now on the stand. Brenda McInnes is testifying this week, with Bill Fraser, former MTS President and CEO, scheduled for October 22nd.
The former Provincial Auditor, Jon Singleton, will take the stand on October 29, 2008. It is alleged that Singleton interfered with the Independent Actuary and caused him to change his opinion to side with MTS.
A revised calendar for the trial, showing tentative witness examination dates is available on request from the TEAM office. Court is typically in session every weekday from 10 AM to 12:15 PM, and from 2 PM to 4:15 PM: Courtroom 128, Law Courts Building, 408 York Avenue, Winnipeg.