In a recent case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit was called upon to decide whether Acument Global Technologies, Inc. could terminate medical and life insurance benefits provided to retired employees under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). In a split decision, the three-judge panel, consisting of two circuit judges and a district judge, ruled that the CBA did not create unalterable lifetime (vested) health care and life insurance benefits. The Sixth Circuit’s ruling was premised on the finding that Acument had unambiguously reserved the right under the terms of the CBA to amend, modify, suspend, or terminate the plan. This language, the court reasoned, is incompatible with a promise to create vested, unchangeable benefits. The lone dissenting judge did not agree that the so-called “reservation-of-rights” clause was unambiguous and would have remanded the case to the lower court for consideration of extrinsic evidence to determine the intent of the parties on the issue of vesting. The key to the decision and the lesson for employers who wish to retain the right to amend or terminate benefits provided under a CBA is that the reservation-of-rights clause was part of the same document that contained the promise of retiree benefits and not in a separate benefit plan document or summary plan description. (Witmer v. Acument Global Technologies, Inc., No. 11-1793, 6th Cir. 2012)