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Mercer facing $2.8 billion lawsuit in Alaska: report

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mercer is facing a $2.8 billion lawsuit by the Alaska Retirement Management Board that alleges the human resources consulting firm made a number of errors in its work as the state's actuarial consultant, according to a New York Times column published on Sunday.

The columnist, Gretchen Morgenson, writes that the Alaskan state agency has accused Mercer of making "multiple errors" when it came to figuring the amount that should be set aside for health care and pension benefits.

The agency has also alleged that company executives knew of the errors and covered them up, Morgenson reported.

Mercer, a division of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc <MMC.N>, could be on the hook for punitive as well as treble damages if the agency wins the case, the column says.

Morgenson reports that according to Marsh's most recent quarterly filing, it has not "recorded a liability related to the Alaska case because it cannot determine 'that a loss is both probable and reasonably estimable.'"

According to the column, Mercer said in a statement that its error and its failure to disclose it was "a mistake in judgment that Mercer regrets and it is not consistent with the company's corporate culture."

Mercer's lawyers have argued that it did no "compensable harm" or damage to Alaska's retirement systems, according to the column.

The judge overseeing the case has ordered a trial to be held in Juneau next July.

(Reporting by Paul Thomasch)

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