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1999: IBM Corp. adopts cash balance plan.

1999: Older IBM employees file suit, charging that the plan violates age discrimination laws.

2003: U.S. District Court Judge G. Patrick Murphy rules that the plan is age discriminatory.

2004: Partial settlement between IBM and plaintiffs caps IBM's liability at $1.4 billion if IBM loses its appeal of Judge Murphy ruling.

2004: IBM announces it will close off its cash balance plan, effective Jan. 1, 2005, to new employees in favor of an enhanced 401(k) plan.

2006: IBM announces it will completely freeze its cash balance plan, effective Jan. 1, 2008.

2006: 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses Judge Murphy's decision, ruling that cash balance plans in general and IBM's plan in particular do not discriminate against older employees.

2007: U.S. Supreme Court declines to review IBM case and lets stand appeals court ruling.