McKinney v. United States Postal Service

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is this case about?
  2. What is the case called?
  3. Who is included in the class?
  4. How do I know if I am a class member?
  5. Do I need to take any action if I am a class member?
  6. How much will I receive?
  7. When would I get my compensation (Settlement Award)?
  8. Who are the attorneys representing the class?
  9. Do I need to pay any attorney fees?
  1. What is this case about?

    Beginning in 1981, the United States Postal Service (USPS) and several postal employee unions entered into collective bargaining agreements which deferred a cost-of-living adjustment owed to Postal Service employees as part of their pay. As a result, the amount of some life insurance benefits calculated using employee’s base pay was reduced. A dispute over these benefits resulted in a 1986 arbitration ordering USPS to pay the full amount of the life insurance benefits including the cost-of-living adjustment. Nevertheless, USPS failed to pay many beneficiaries the adjusted life insurance benefits for decades after the arbitration, and in some cases USPS never paid them at all.

    Pamela McKinney’s father was a Postal Service employee who passed away on January 31, 1982. In July 2008, she received a letter from USPS stating that she was entitled to a payment of the adjusted life insurance benefits from his policy. Ms. McKinney received the adjusted life insurance benefit payment more than 26 years after her father died and more than 22 years after USPS was ordered to pay it.

    On March 28, 2011, Ms. McKinney filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of herself and other beneficiaries of deceased Postal Service employees to recover the adjusted benefit payments for those who USPS still had not paid, and to recover interest on the payments that USPS delayed, in some cases for more than 25 years.

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  2. What is the case called?

    The case is McKinney v. United States Postal Service and is filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The case number is 11-cv-631. Use the Case Documents link above to view some of the pleadings that have been filed in the case.

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  3. Who is included in the class?

    The class includes beneficiaries of deceased United States Postal Service employees (or, if deceased, the beneficiaries’ estates or other legal representatives), who first received notice on or after March 28, 2008, that they may be entitled to an additional death benefit payment under provisions of the U.S. Postal Service Annuity Protection Program.

    If you are related to or are the legal representative of a deceased former USPS employee who worked for the Postal Service after 1981, you may be a class member. Even if you received a payment from USPS you may be entitled to additional money, because the class claims that USPS must pay interest on the late payments it made.

    If you believe that you may be a class member, and have not received a Settlement Award Packet, please contact us at (202) 810-4849, by email at info@uspslawsuit.com or by using the Contact Us link above.

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  4. How do I know if I am a class member?

    If you think you or someone you know may be a class member, please contact class counsel at (202) 810-4849, by email at info@uspslawsuit.com or by using the Contact Us link above.

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  5. Do I need to take any action if I am a class member?

    The Settlement Award Packet shows the individual share of the Settlement Award amount, as determined by the Payment Formula, that you will be entitled to should you complete and submit the enclosed Settlement Award Form in a manner that demonstrates you are entitled to payment.

    If you are the legal representative of a deceased class member or the legal guardian of an incapacitated class member, you will be required to submit additional supporting documents. Note that there is a deadline for submitting your signed Settlement Award Form and any supporting documentation, if required. This deadline is clearly printed in your Settlement Award Packet. It is important that you submit your signed Form before the deadline.

    If you have not received Settlement Award Packet and you think you may be a member of the class, please contact class counsel at (202) 810-4849, by email at info@uspslawsuit.com or by using the Contact Us link above.

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  6. How much will I receive?

    The Settlement Agreement provides that each Class Member who successfully completes the Settlement Award Form and any supporting documentation will be paid a Settlement Award according to the Payment Formula. The Payment Formula is based on Class Counsel’s review of MetLife records which show for each class member:

    1. the difference between the life insurance benefits that were paid by MetLife and those that would have been paid had the COLA been rolled into salary; and
    2. the difference between the accidental death benefits previously paid by MetLife to any beneficiary entitled to accidental death benefits and the amount those benefits would have been had the COLA been rolled into salary.
       

    In addition, Class Counsel’s analysis of the MetLife records shows that some beneficiaries were underpaid their Kerr Life Payment as a result of miscalculations or other errors. These amounts constitute the principal amount available to each class member who submits a Complete Settlement Award Package that establishes his or her eligibility for a Settlement Award.

    The Compensation Pool also includes sufficient money to pay the amount of interest class counsel believes would be paid under federal law through the beginning of 2017. The Court has approved the Settlement, so if you are a Class Member you will be sent a Settlement Award Packet notifying you of the precise amount you are entitled to receive.

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  7. When would I get my compensation (Settlement Award)?

    The Court held a fairness hearing on November 4, 2016, to decide whether to grant final approval of the Settlement. The Settlement was approved. The Settlement became final January 10, 2017. Settlement Award Packets were mailed to Class Members whose address is known beginning in early February 2017. KCC will pay awards within 21 days after a completed Settlement Award Package has been returned to us and approved.

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  8. Who are the attorneys representing the class?

    The Court has appointed David U. Fierst and Robert L. Bredhoff as class counsel. Mr. Fierst and Mr. Bredhoff are partners at the law firm of Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner LLP located in Washington, DC. To learn more about Mr. Fierst and Mr. Bredhoff and their firm please visit www.SteinMitchell.com

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  9. Do I need to pay any attorney fees?

    Counsel who represent a class and produce a benefit for class members are entitled by law to be compensated for their services. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has previously ruled that the appropriate method of calculating class action attorney’s fees in this Court is to award a percentage of the common fund obtained through settlement. After the fairness hearing, the court awarded a fee of 30% of the Compensation Pool, and it ordered that litigation expenses of $59,457.73 be reimbursed from the Compensation Pool. Each class member’s Settlement Award amount will be reduced by the fee percentage and a share of the expenses awarded by the Court. The settlement award shown in your Settlement Award Packet is the amount that will be paid to you, if you return your form before the deadline and the form shows you are entitled to recover.

    You may review a copy of the motion for attorney’s fees and reimbursement of expenses and the Court’s order awarding them at the Case Documents link above

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