Judges deny Village retirees' request for an injunction related to health benefits
Three employees of the Village of Chesaning filed suit seeking an injunction to prevent the Village of Chesaning from unilaterally changing the retiree health benefits it provides. The Village notified the workers of its plan to reduce expense by revising its health coverage from Blue Cross Flex Blue 2 to Flex Blue 3. The workers argued that the two plans were not "substantially equivalent" and therefore the Village lacked the authority to make a unilateral change.
It was undisputed that the retirees will be required to pay higher copayments and deductibles under the new plan. Since these amounts would be payable to the employees down-the-road if they win their lawsuit, the Court held that they would not suffer "irreparable harm" and on that basis their injunction request was denied. The Court essentially concluded that it was irrelevant to the injunction request that the employees might be more likely to prevail or that the new charges might be more burdensome to them than complying with the contract would be to the Village.
The judges also deemed it to be irrelevant that the retirees might not be able to afford some medical care as a result of the increase in co-pays and deductibles.