Last month, a group representing retirees from Qwest Communications and its predecessor US West lost a court case the group had pursued in an attempt to force Qwest to continue honoring a death benefit for retirees. Now, the group is citing Qwest's pettiness as the telco recently made a court filing seeking reimbursement of $2,672 in court costs stemming from defending itself from the lawsuit.
The ruling court already indicated that Qwest was entitled to seek the court costs, but the amount appears insignificant for a company like Qwest, which probably routinely pays executive severance packages many times more than those court costs. Also, as the attorney for the Association of U S West Retirees pointed out, when Qwest hired its current CEO, Edward Mueller, the Denver-based telco bought Mueller's house in California and sold it at a $1.8 million loss.
Qwest certainly stands to save money from eliminating the death benefit, an action that it already has taken for employees who retired on or after Jan. 1, 2004, and it may also withdraw the benefit from employees who retired before that date. The benefit was equal to one year's pay.
- read this report at Rocky Mountain News
Qwest paid a Colorado retirees group $15.5 million related to its past financial scandal
Qwest CEO Edward Mueller received $17.4 million in compensation for 2007