50. The term "payment" as used in Section 3.2 means what the dictionary says it means; something that has already been given to someone. Payment refers to a past act.
51. A modification to the CBA does not require ratification so long as it is consistent with the CBA.
52. When a collective bargaining agreement creates an ERISA plan, the law can enforce the ERISA plan.
53. The collective bargaining parties can modify and refine the CBA, but they cannot contradict what the basic document does. In the instant case, the basic document gives additional benefits. Section 3.2 of the Supplemental Plan eviscerates any meaning to the Supplemental Plan as to Sweeney, and it therefore unlawfully discriminates against him and others whose benefits have already vested. The CBA did not contemplate the notion of an offset required from certain people entitled to benefits, but not others.
54. After due consideration of the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation as well as Plaintiff's objections thereto and Defendants' response, the Court hereby adopts the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge regarding attorneys' fees and costs. Plaintiff is awarded attorneys fees of $ 195,452.00, which is 75.76%
of a reasonable lodestar fee of $ 257,988. Plaintiff is also awarded $ 2,240 for the recoverable costs incurred throughout this litigation. In addition, Plaintiff is awarded pre-judgment interest from December 13, 1993 on all retroactive amounts.
56. In the Court's August order, it directed the parties to attempt to come to a mutual agreement as to the reasonable amount of attorney's fees to be awarded to Plaintiff. The Court noted that if the parties could not resolve this matter by agreement, then "the party whose 'reasonable' figure is furthest from the amount as decided by the Court shall pay the attorneys fees and costs for the hearing to the prevailing party." (August Order at 25). The parties were unable to resolve their dispute over the reasonable amount of attorney's fees to be awarded to Plaintiff, and thus, the Court ordered the Magistrate Judge to hold a hearing and issue a Report and Recommendation as to the reasonable amount of attorney's fees in the instant case. Defendants' proposed fee award was closest to the fee award that this Court has deemed to be reasonable. As such, the Defendants are awarded reasonable attorney's fees for the time expended on the fee dispute.
Upon review of the Defendants' application for attorney's fees with respect to this issue, the Court finds that $ 10,000 is a reasonable amount of attorney's fees to be awarded to Defendants for their time expended on the fee dispute. That sum shall be deducted from Plaintiff's fee award.
57. Lastly, Defendants have submitted a request that the Court apportion the fee awards between the two Plans. Defendants propose that the fee awards be allocated in a manner consistent with the Court's formulation for establishing the success fraction. Of the 225 months for which Plaintiff obtained benefits (out of a total of 297 months claimed), 100 of them represented months in which he made claims against both the Player Retirement Plan and the Supplemental Plan, or 44.4% of the total months as to which he obtained court-ordered benefits. The remaining 55.56% of the months as to which he obtained court-ordered benefits were from the Player Retirement Plan only. As such, 77.78% of the judgment was against the Player Retirement Plan and 22.22% was against the Supplemental Plan. Defendants request that these percentages be used to apportion Plaintiff's fee and cost award between the two Plans. Plaintiff does not object to Defendants' proposed apportionment. The Court finds that this apportionment formula is reasonable and grants Defendants' request. Accordingly, Plaintiff's total fee award of $ 185,452 ($ 195,452 - $ 10,000 credit to Defendants) should be apportioned as follows:
(i) Player Retirement Plan = $ 144,244.56;
(ii) Supplemental Plan = $ 41,207.44;