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 user 2009-03-02 at 11:46:48 am Views: 53
  • #21835
    Lawsuit filed against former Cookeville company
    TN — A former Cookeville company has been sued by the U.S. Department
    of Labor for failing to provide 401(k) participants access to their
    retirement funds.Renewable Resources Inc., a re-manufacturer of
    computer printer and toner cartridges, is accused of failing to
    terminate its 401(k) plan and distribute assets to eligible
    participants after the company ceased operations. As a result,
    participants were unable to receive information about and access to
    their funds.The suit, filed Feb. 13 in U.S. District Court for the
    Middle District of Tennessee, asks the court to appoint an independent
    fiduciary to terminate the plan and distribute its assets.The
    Department of Labor did not release how many people could possibly be
    affected.Renewable Resources was bought by New Jersey-based Reink
    Imaging in 1999, and both companies are no longer in operating. Michael
    Wald, a spokesman with the U.S. Department of Labor, said Renewable
    Resources filed for bankruptcy in 2003.

    The U.S. Department of
    Labor typically doesn’t discuss how investigations are initiated, he
    said, but according to a press release, the case resulted from an
    investigation conducted by the department’s Employee Benefits Security
    Administration office in Atlanta.

    A former Renewable Resources
    employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the problem
    with the 401(k) accounts was discovered about three years ago after she
    had met with a financial planner. The company administering the
    program, New York-based investment firm Scudder Kemper, was unable to
    release it to the participants.“Because Renewable Resources was no
    longer in business, and the so-called guardian of the account was no
    longer living, basically the account was in limbo,” the employee said.
    “It’s more of a formality, I guess, but the only way it can be resolved
    at this point is for the courts to appoint a fiduciary to act on behalf
    of the 401(k) program.”It isn’t the first time Renewable Resources has
    made headlines. In 1999, the company was required to alter its practice
    of ink disposal — Renewable had been using an underground tank that the
    EPA said might contaminate ground water.In 2000, the company had
    another run-in with the EPA. Reink was found responsible for turning
    the Falling Water River red — after an employee inadvertently dumped 20
    to 30 gallons of water-based, non-hazardous red ink down a drain. The
    company was cited for the incident.

    A court date for the current case has yet to be set.
    Labor Department will step in to protect the rights of plan
    participants when the fiduciary fails to make provisions for the
    orderly distribution of assets from its discontinued retirement plan,”
    R.C. Marshall, regional director of the EBSA, said in a statement.In
    the 2008 fiscal year, EBSA achieved monetary results of $1.2 billion
    related to pensions, 401(k), health and other benefits for millions of
    American workers and their families.