The gist of the suit is that the former execs thought their pensions were being calculated one way for the purpose of the cuts, while the automaker was actually counting a different way, with GM factoring in a salaried retirement plan into the executive retirement plan. The judges in the appeals case sided with a 2011 ruling by US District Court Judge George Caram Steeh.
One of the conditions for the bailout was that GM needed to trim all executive pensions worth over $100,000 per year by up to two-thirds. Not surprisingly, some execs weren't pleased about this. As The Detroit News notes, former CEO Rick Wagoner saw his pension fall from $20 million to $8.5 million.
According to The News, trimming the pensions of the top executives alone saved $221 million per year, while overall pension and health care cuts added up to $4.6 billion in savings.