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Deere & Company Pleased With Court Ruling Concerning Retiree Health Care

MOLINE, Ill., Oct. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) said today it was pleased that a ruling in U.S. District Court has found in favor of the company regarding retiree health care benefits. Deere also said the program changes that were reviewed by the court will be beneficial in the long run for affected retirees and the company.

In the ruling by the Honorable Charles R. Wolle, of the Southern District of Iowa, the court ruled that Deere repeatedly and plainly stated in benefit plan documents that it retained the right to amend, modify or terminate the plans.

"While other companies have eliminated health care benefits entirely, Deere's senior management showed its intense interest in supporting our retirees by adopting a plan that appears sustainable and engages this group of retirees to be more actively involved in their health care decisions," said Mert Hornbuckle, vice president of human resources.

"Although some retirees were not interested in making a change, we will continue to work to show how the new program supports the health care needs of John Deere retirees," Hornbuckle said. "We have been encouraged that most of those who are covered by the benefit program found it to be reasonable, fair, and effective. Further, the Medicare eligible retirees appreciated the annual financial support ($5900 per couple for 2010) provided by Deere in the form of Retiree Medical Credits for purchase of insurance and payment of out of pocket costs."

The U.S. District Court ruling comes in response to a lawsuit brought against the company. Deere had argued that it had the flexibility to make a change in its benefit plans and did so by providing a new benefit design that delivers value and flexibility to former salaried employees who are considered "Flex" retirees -- a segment of retired Deere employees that totals approximately 5,000 and their dependents.

SOURCE Deere & Company

SOURCE Deere & Company
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