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Pension Lawsuit Update (Nov 25)
To:          All TEAM Members
Date:      November 25, 2008
Re:        Pension Lawsuit Update

 
After more than 13 weeks of trial, in which some 1,300 documents were reviewed and scrutinized, the end is in sight!
 
MTS took the stand on October 14 and ended their case on November 7, 2008. All the testimony in the pension lawsuit (TEAM et al v. MTS Allstream) has finally been heard.  Our witnesses proved themselves to be credible and competent over the 13 weeks of trail.  November 7, 2008 was a rather fitting end date, as it was exactly twelve years to the day that the Employee/Retiree Pension Committee, the Government of Manitoba, and MTS signed the Memorandum of Agreement enshrining our rights to the $43 million initial surplus transferred from the Civil Service Superannuation Fund.
 
On November 4th we had another significant procedural victory, when Justice Bryk ruled that Mr Jon Singleton was, like Clifford Fox “the independent actuary”, an adverse witness.  Singleton was the Provincial Auditor at the time of privatization.  This declaration of adversity allowed us to cross examine Singleton about his role in the process of determining whether the new MTS pension plan satisfied the requirements of the Act which privatized MTS.  We allege that Singleton interfered with the Independent Actuary (Clifford Fox), causing him to change his opinion to side with MTS.  Justice Bryk’s five page Reasons for Decision can be viewed here.
 
Before Justice Bryk begins his deliberations, written closing arguments must be submitted by January 16, 2009, with rebuttals submitted by February 13, 2009.  Oral arguments, if required, have been scheduled for March 23-25, 2009.
 
We are hopeful that Justice Bryk will restore the employees/retirees’ pension surplus and give members the same level of input and involvement in the new MTS pension plan as was enjoyed under the Civil Service Plan.
 
For a more detailed account of the trial proceedings please see the below report from the Mr. Harry Restall (Retiree representative) and Mr. J. Larry Trach (TEAM Business Manager - retired and lawsuit representative for all three unions).
 
Document links:
 

 
TEAM-IFPTE Local 161


To: MTS Pension Plan Members
File No. CI 99-01-14589
 
TEAM et al v. MTS et al
 
 The testimony portion of the trial has finally been completed.
There have been 10 weeks of testimony and motions in the pension lawsuit trial TEAM et al v. MTS Allstream – Queens Bench File No C1 99-01-14589, since we started this portion of the trial on September 2, 2008.  The three (3) weeks of pre-trial evidence by Harry Restall at the de bene esse hearing during the weeks of April 28th, May 5th and June 2nd have resulted in a total so far of 13 weeks of trial.  The plaintiffs and defendants testimony was completed at noon Friday, November 7, 2008.  This date is twelve (12) years to the day since the Employee/Retiree Pension Committee, the Government of Manitoba, and MTS signed the November 7, 1996, Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) into law as part of Bill 67.  The agreement and promises made by government and MTS that night enshrined our rights to the initial surplus transferred from the Civil Service Superannuation Fund (CSSF). This lawsuit addresses MTS Allstreams refusal to fulfill their obligations under the November 7, 1996 agreement and to ensure that the new MTS plan provides benefits equivalent in value to the CSSF. 
 
The Provincial Auditor declared adverse witness in $100M Pension Lawsuit
In the second last week of the trial the plaintiffs won a motion when Justice Bryk declared Jon Singleton, the Provincial Auditor at the time of privatization, an adverse witness.  The declaration of adversity allowed the  plaintiffs to cross examine Mr. Singleton as to his role in the process of determining equivalency between the old and new pension plans as set out in the Act (Bill 67).  MTS was also allowed to cross-examine Jon Singleton.  Justice Bryk’s ruling on this motion is a matter of public record now and is available for review on the TEAM website http://www.teamunion.mb.ca.
 
The Next Essential Steps Required in the Trial Process.
There are 3 more steps at trial that need to be completed before Justice Bryk will begin his deliberations on the evidence, testimony and arguments in this case.  The first is submissions of written closing arguments to the court by both parties on January 16, 2009.  The second is written rebuttal arguments to those submissions that must be submitted to the court by February 13, 2009.  Oral arguments, if required by Justice Bryk, would take place in court on March 23 to 25, 2009. 
 
Justice Bryk was provided substantial evidence through the 1300 agreed to documents and the 1000's of pages of testimony, which will allow the Court to understand what wrong was perpetrated on the plan members in 1996/97. We are hopeful the Court will restore (with interest) the employees/retirees pension surplus and that we will be "given back" a form of governance by consensus between employees/retirees and MTS which we had enjoyed for many years under the Civil Service Plan.   
 
We will continue to keep you informed as additional information becomes available. 
 
Harry Restall
J. Larry Trach
Co-Plaintiffs