The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to review AT&T Pension Benefit Plan vs. Call et al.

AT&T Corp., San Antonio, Texas, was suing to overturn a $31.2 million 2007 class-action verdict.

The lead plaintiff in the case, Linda Call, participated in a pension plan run by Ameritech, a company eventually acquired by AT&T.

Call and the 1,900 other members of the class contended in a suit filed in 2001 that administrators had replaced the actuarial assumptions used in calculating lump-sum benefits with new assumptions that had illegally reduced the amounts they received when they withdrew lump-sum benefits.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the plaintiffs.

The Bush administration had recommended that the Supreme Court reject the appeal, arguing that the case turned on the specific characteristics of the pension plan involved rather than on general legal principles.

The Supreme Court gave the American Benefits Council, Washington, permission to submit a brief supporting the pension plan, but it declined to grant a writ of certiorari.

AT&T has issued a statement expressing disappointment about the Supreme Court’s decision not to take up the case.

But “this ruling affects only a relatively small group of Ameritech retirees and no others,” the company says. “Of course, we will comply with the court’s order.”