About 4,000 former Enron Corp. employees abruptly laid off when the company plunged into bankruptcy will receive more severance pay, a New York bankruptcy judge ruled.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Gonzalez on Wednesday approved a dlrs 28.8 million plan that will fund payments of up to dlrs 13,500 each to workers who lost their jobs between Dec. 3, the day after Enron filed for bankruptcy, through Feb. 28.
Any severance already paid to the workers will be deducted from that amount, the judge ruled. Most workers received dlrs 4,500 in the weeks after the bankruptcy reorganization filing, and another dlrs 1,100 earlier this year.
“But we’re happy with the decision,” said Brian Dafferner, who worked in Enron’s retail energy division. “I feel we’re ready to move on and this provides closure for us.”
Workers who accept the money give up their right to pursue more severance pay owed to them under Enron policy. They can still pursue non-severance claims, such as lawsuits over decimated retirement accounts loaded with what became nearly worthless Enron stock or deferred compensation that was denied to some executives.
“This decision ends the uncertainty faced by severed Enron employees who otherwise might have endured years of litigation with no guarantee of victory,” said Richard Rathvon, co-chairman of a committee of former employees appointed to represent their views in the bankruptcy.
Enron spokeswoman Karen Denne said the company is pleased with the settlement.
More than 50 former Enron workers and executives opted out of the deal so they can pursue higher severance amounts they would normally receive under Enron’s policy.
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