Lutz, who was a former Chrysler president and vice chairman, left the automaker in 1998 and initially filed his objection in June 2009 to Chryslerís plan to cut benefits from the pension plan. (Bryan Mitchell/Special to The Detroit News)
Washington — A federal bankruptcy judge has thrown out a long-running claim from four former top Chrysler executives — including Bob Lutz — over the Auburn Hills' automaker's decision to dramatically cut many executive pensions during its 2009 restructuring.
In a March 5 court filing, lawyers for four former senior Chrysler executives appealed the decision of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stuart M. Bernstein who ruled the old Chrysler trust does not have to assume the liabilities for former Chrysler executives in the Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan.
A lawyer for the four executives, Mayer Morganroth, says the executives collectively lost more than $10 million.
Lutz, who was a former Chrysler president and vice chairman, left the automaker in 1998 and initially filed his objection in June 2009 to Chrysler's plan to cut benefits from the pension plan.
The other executives who sued include Richard O. Schaum, who was DaimlerChrysler's executive vice president for product development and quality, Gary Henson, who retired in 2001 after heading Chrysler's manufacturing operations, and Donald Miltz, a former Chrysler Financial executive.
At issue was the fact that the new Chrysler agreed to retain liabilities under the plan for active executives but not for retired executives.
The suing executives argued Chrysler couldn't only accept part of the pension plan, while some also argued it was unfair to treat retired and current executives differently.
In 2009, Chrysler Group LLC was created in the sale of the "good assets" of the former Chrysler LLC to a government-sponsored entity controlled by Fiat SpA.
Many former executives in the bankruptcies Chrysler and General Motors Co. lost two-thirds of their pensions.
Morganroth said the executives may have other claims they can lodge against the new Chrysler.
The former Chrysler trust continues to sell off assets and pay bills. It had $186 million on hand as of Dec. 31. Most recently, it sold a truck and scrap material from the former Kenosha Engine plant in Wisconsin.