An appeals court in New Orleans heard arguments Wednesday in Lee v. Verizon, a class-action challenging the communications company's pension-transfer agreement with Prudential Insurance Co. 

The suit claims that Verizon's de-risking agreement with Prudential, which transferred about $7.5 billion in the company's pension obligations, accounting for a quarter of all its pension liabilities, was a breach of fiduciary standards under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

"This case is being closely monitored by corporate pension sponsors, pension fund managers, the annuity insurance industry and ERISA legal professionals throughout the nation," Curtis L. Kennedy, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said. "Indeed the case will develop ERISA law that will have repercussions on retiree pensioners throughout the nation." 

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