Two federal suits against the Mountain Bell telephone company - both contending the company misrepresented its intentions about employees' early retirement - have been temporarily transferred to Denver.
The suits were filed by 30 Utahns who are former employees of Mountain Bell. They are among 26 suits brought by 400 plaintiffs in seven states served by Mountain Bell - now known as US West Communications, based in Denver.Curtis L. Kennedy, Denver, one of three lawyers for the plaintiffs, said the suits are all being sent to Denver for pretrial action, but eventually will be returned to the states of origin for trial.
Because of plaintiffs' long-term service to Mountain Bell and the company's commitment to provide a fair, consistent and uniform personnel policy, the company had a fiduciary duty toward them, the suit says.
"Mountain Bell engaged in a pattern of repeated concealments of the true state of affairs concerning the surplus condition of the management work force and probable use of MIPP," it says. MIPP is the company's Management Income Protection Plan, a severance-pay program for managers.
Instead of implementing the MIPP that was expected, the company implemented the less beneficial Supplemental Income Protection Plan for 483 managers, it says. This plan required each such manager to be demoted to a non-management position on his last day of employment, and demoted into a non-management pension plan for early retirement, the suit says.
The suit seeks recovery of the difference between the two plans, plus other damages, including punitive damages.