Former employees of Augsburg Fortress filed suit earlier this month against the denominational publisher over the publisher's termination of its pension plan. A suit filed April 21 in U.S. District Court in Minnesota is a class action lawsuit covering the 500 people affected by the termination of a defined benefit retirement plan in January.
The suit alleges "breaches of duty." Augsburg Fortress said it ended the plan because of a shortfall caused by underfunding and the economic downturn. At the end of 2009, retirement obligations totaled $24.2 million and assets totaled $8.6 million. President and CEO Beth Lewis is among the defendants, as is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Augsburg Fortress is separately incorporated from the church. Lewis said in a statement responding to the suit that the filing "misrepresents the care with which the plan was administered."