Jeld-Wen Hit With Lawsuit

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Fri, February 1 2013 at 2:18 PM, Updated: Fri, February 1 2013 at 2:30 PM

Jeld-Wen is the target of a 650 thousand dollar lawsuit...filed by three former employees, who claim adjustments by the company reduced the value of their retirement packages.

The suit was filed in federal court in Medford on Wednesday.

The lawsuit claims that retroactive amendments made by Jeld-Wen to their employee stock ownership plan, or 'ESOP', were in violation of federal laws outlined in the 'employee retirement income security act of 1974', or 'ERISA'.

The suit claims those who retired prior to age 55 would receive benefits based on stock values at the time of their retirement.

Jeld-Wen made an adjustment in 2010 to base those benefits at current stock value...a drop of nearly 69%.

That would reduce the value of plaintiff Robert Jimerson's benefits by more than 490 thousand dollars, Philip Belloti's by more than 67 thousand dollars, and Bradley Snodgrass' benefits by more than 86 thousand dollars.

Jeld-Wen officials told KOBI that they will not comment on the lawsuit.

None of the plaintiffs currently live in the Klamath Falls area.

While only three plaintiffs are listed in the lawsuit, the outcome could trigger more legal challenges by others who are enrolled in Jeld-Wen's stock option retirement plan.

The suit lists Jeld-Wen President Rod Wendt and Vice-President Ron Saxton as primary defendants.

The plaintiffs are represented by the Washington D.C. law firm of Cohen, Milstein, Sellers, and Toll.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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