August 3, 2017, The Independent
Pending court approval, a letter will soon go out to the estates, surviving spouses and descendents of deceased Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory retirees who may be eligible for damages because they were improperly removed from University of California health care programs. The letter will follow a comparable letter sent more than two years ago to some 4,500 LLNL retirees who were believed to be alive as of January 2015 and possibly eligible for both damages and reinstatement in UC health care as a result of a class action lawsuit.
Like the 2015 letter, the new letter will inform recipients that they will be included in the lawsuit class unless they “opt out”, that is, unless they indicate in writing that they do not want to be part of the class. The new letter follows discovery that the University of California omitted at least as many names as it provided in the 4,500-retiree list developed in 2014 after the court approved the application to form a class for legal purposes.
After the omissions were discovered, the court ordered the University to provide a complete list, at least doubling potential class membership to 9,000 or more. The omitted names were mainly survivors, dependents and the estates of deceased retirees. These are still eligible for claims under California law, according to court records.
UC health programs were available to LLNL retirees from the time of the Laboratory’s founding in 1952 until the beginning of 2008, after a for-profit consortium took over for the University as manager of the national defense laboratory. The contract change led to the loss of UC health care programs, a loss which many retirees saw as a violation of promises made to them while they were active employees.
They formed a grass roots organization called UC Laboratory Retiree Group that collected money, hired attorneys and filed a lawsuit which became a class action in 2014. To Jay Davis, a spokesperson for the group, a key motivation for the group’s legal action is concern for the future in case some unknown contractor takes over the operation of the Laboratory.
“Those of us who worked for (LLNL) for many years have no reason to believe that the LLC (the limited liability company that now operates LLNL) will exist in a few years….the LLC that runs Los Alamos is going to go out of existence next fall when its contract ends.
“None of us knows what happens (to our benefits) when the Livermore LLC goes out of existence.”
Davis is pleased that the membership of the class now seems to be settled. Making a generous estimate of the number of letters that will go out, he said, “the news is that there’s a class of almost 10,000 people…who are partners in this lawsuit.
“It took us a while to get there…. But we now have almost 10,000 names of people who are affected by this.”
Note: Whenever the national labs come up, yours truly likes to promote the 1980 BBC series "Oppenheimer" which deals with the Manhattan Project and the connection of Berkeley to it:
Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sSOprKCEME [link below]
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX0fvoPHOZM
Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io3WSJwVk1I
Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo0jZqxcrWE
Part 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo6s9G1W8Ng
Part 6: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msadwfwjWfo
Part 7: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0dfw_uPlQo