High court sides with Montana Power retirees

HELENA - The Montana Supreme Court has upheld a $21.4 million judgment against NorthWestern Corp. and several of its executives in a case filed by 15 retired Montana Power Co. executives whose supplemental retirement benefits were cut off in 2005 without notice.

When NorthWestern Corp. of South Dakota bought the transmission and distribution assets of the Montana Power Co. in 2002, it also assumed responsibility for hundreds of contracts, including supplemental pensions offered to some employees for taking early retirement.

After NorthWestern emerged from bankruptcy reorganization in late 2004, its board of directors decided to stop paying the supplemental pensions but didn't tell retirees.

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