Another Lawsuit caused by bankrupt yellow pages company Idearc Media

December 1, 2009

from MarketWire:

Retirees Charge Verizon & Idearc With Illegal Pension Switch

Involuntarily Switched to Financially Challenged Spin-Off Pre-Bankruptcy

DALLAS, TX–(Marketwire – December 1, 2009) – Telephone company retirees have filed a complaint for proposed class action relief under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) charging that they and over two thousand others were involuntarily switched in November 2006, post-retirement, from the financially secure Verizon Communication Inc. (NYSE: VZ) pension plans to pension plans sponsored by a newly spun-off company, Idearc Inc. (PINKSHEETS: IDARQ).

Less than 2 years after Verizon transferred the retirees, Idearc encountered financial problems and began cutting back various earned retiree benefits. These benefit reductions were not experienced by retirees remaining in Verizon’s pension plans. In March 2009, Idearc filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In mid-November, 2006, after each Plaintiff had been retired for at least ten years, they together with more than 2,000 others were involuntarily reclassified and switched into pension plans run by Idearc. All three Plaintiffs were fully vested in the Verizon pension plans with rights to continued payment of monthly annuities and other Verizon welfare benefits. No party received any Plaintiff’s consent to be switched over to Idearc’s pension plans. From the point of the spin off, concluded on November 17, 2006, Verizon treated the retirees’ rights to the usual Verizon retiree benefits as being terminated.

Plaintiff Philip A. Murphy, former President of CWA Local No. 1301, a resident of Mills, MA, retired from a predecessor of Verizon in 1996. Plaintiff Sandra R. Noe of Ipswich, MA and Plaintiff Claire M. Palmer of West Newton, MA both retired from predecessors of Verizon in 1995 and had for years been participants in Verizon pension plans. None of the Plaintiffs had actually ever worked for Idearc.

When retirees tried to administratively challenge their involuntary transfer to Idearc and its pension plans, without going to court, the respondent companies stonewalled and missed mandated deadlines to respond to the retirees’ internal claims. The retirees’ proposed class-wide administrative claim sought to remedy the mistreatment accorded to both non-management and management retirees who have suffered tremendous losses not suffered by their fellow retirees who were not transferred to Idearc. The respondents refused to treat Plaintiffs’ internal claims as class-wide claims.

Therefore, Plaintiffs filed a proposed class action on November 25, 2009 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. The Complaint filed in Civil Action No. 3:09-CV-2262 charges pension plan administrators with numerous ERISA violations including:

— Failure to provide requested plan documents;
— Breach of fiduciary duty for refusal to disclose pension related plan information;
— Breach of fiduciary duty for failure to comply with pension plan document rules;
— Various other ERISA violations justifying court ordered declaratory, injunctive and other equitable relief;
— Unlawful refusal to make payment of Verizon pension plan benefits; and
— Unlawful interference with retirees’ rights to receive Verizon retiree pension and welfare benefits.

The Federal Complaint states that when Verizon transferred hundreds of millions of dollars in surplus pension assets to Idearc in November 2006, no pension plan language identified and traced the transferred monies to actual liabilities owed to particular plan participants for the payment of pension benefits. When Verizon conducted the transfer, there were no existing plan terms giving the plan sponsor or any other entity the authority to change the status of the retirees.

“What Verizon did to these retirees is disgraceful,” said C. William Jones, who heads the Association of BellTel Retirees Inc., (www.belltelretirees.org) a retiree activist organization. “They are ducking a fiduciary responsibility to employees who gave decades of service and earned these benefits. These pension funds were set aside over the years for the benefit of employees who worked 20, 30 or more years and earned their pensions over their careers. It is reprehensible to refuse to provide plan documents so retirees can make informed judgments on the state of their pension plan and other benefits which they earned during their working years.”

The Complaint asks that all retirees who were transferred to Idearc be put back into Verizon’s pension and welfare benefit plans. It also asks that Verizon’s and Idearc’s pension plan administrators be order to pay a daily penalty for failure to timely provide requested records. The Complaint is posted at the website for the Association of BellTel Retirees, Inc. See: http://www.belltelretirees.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=33&Itemid=32

Plaintiffs’ counsel can be contacted at: CurtisLKennedy@aol.com

Almost as bad as employees getting shoved into company stock………………….. Sure they will match it, but as long as the company continues with accounting tricks so Wall Street and Main Street do not know what is really going on with the decline of yellow page usage, you will never see a positive return on the investment. Unless of course you get friends to do some insider trading while hushed during a “Quiet Period”. Someone is laughing all the way to the bank! More to come later folks!


Have you ever seen a Cowboy game on a tube tv? Dallas web browser statistics..

December 1, 2009

Have you ever watched a Cowboy game on an old television?

This is a great comparison of browsing the web from an outdated browser such as Internet Explorer 6. Of course you would prefer to watch football from a HDTV LCD or plasma television. The difference in quality is tremendous.

It is crazy how folks like myself get so flustered with small details in life. While I worked for Verizon and Idearc Media in Dallas it bugged me that my company laptop only offered Internet Explorer 6 as a browser. The company apparently did not see the financial benefits in upgrading to a new standard web browser (good thing SalesForce.com’s application works fine on IE6, since they are now using this as the official “sales prospecting” tool at Idearc.)

Today’s web applications are demanding more capabilities.

The reason web sites designed by Idearc Media and other yellow page companies look so terrible [ex: http://www.allactionftworthcarpetcleaning.com] is because they are built for IE6 compatibility (and they spend about as much time and talent building your site as the profit margins allow, about 3-5 hours max!)

A short list of things IE6 does not support, of which coders probably know them all:

CSS v2 (Cascading Style Sheets): This is the code that enables almost all design on the web. In other words, designers have to hack up websites just to make them load in IE6.

PNG Transparency: A great deal of .png images don’t display correctly in IE6. It basically kills using them in design work.

General Security: Just like not updating your virus software can get you riddled with spyware, not updating your browser can be a gateway to attacks. There are even code snippets that will shut down IE6. I won’t tell you what they are, but you can find them on Wikipedia. It’s unstable.

Digg (Digg), Facebook (Facebook), and YouTube (YouTube) (soon): Both Digg and YouTube have announced that they’re cutting back on IE6 support. Facebook already gives you suggestions for better browsers if you try to log in with IE6. You won’t be able to Digg articles or browse YouTube via IE6 in the near future.

Here are my real-time Dallas Web Browser Statistics (if you have a site built by a Yellow Pages company don’t expect this kind of information as they don’t see value in measuring your sites analytics and activity).

Real Web Browser Usage Statistics for Dallas Fort Worth

With these types of web site statistics, or analytics, you are able to measure and then manage your website.

and taking a closer look at the Internet Explorer browser version statistics:

Based on this information, I think it is time to officially put IE6 (and your antiquated Yellow Pages built company website) in the grave.

Don’t hold back your website. Don’t build your site to be IE6 compatible. Your site needs to be able to progress. IE6 compatible website content management systems are not website plugin friendly. They are not compatible with social media applications and embeds. I find it interesting that my former employer, Idearc Media, who going in the direction of cloud computing with SalesForce.com, but does not see the value in utilizing other open-source website development tools. Open-source is continually upgradable. It saves companies money in my opinion. When developing websites I will offer clients either Joomla, Drupal, or WordPress content management systems. Not the antiquated templates that Idearc allows you to choose from. Also if you do go with an upgradeable CMS you get the benefit of easier SEO and a much cooler looking website.

Take a look at a site that we built for a friend of mine Dawn Roberts at the Roberts Law Firm in Fort Worth (click here). The site cost much less than the one that Idearc built for the carpet cleaner in Fort Worth (click here) but looks 100x’s better!

It is time to upgrade your website before the web passes you up. After all, you wouldn’t watch a Dallas Cowboys football game from a tube tv?

Dallas area business owners: If you are ready to quit IE6 and would like to upgrade your Yellow Pages company built site to an open-source content management system (and no longer be tied to a single website developer who won’t return your calls to add fresh content to your website) and Godaddy.com hosting, send Jeff Swope at Webformance an email at:

JSwope @ WebformanceInc . com

For a limited time he is offering you a 5-10 page website for only $625.00!