Mealey's ERISA

  • January 15, 2021

    Pension Plan Retirees Say Rehearing Still Warranted In Due Process Violation Suit

    CINCINNATI — Following the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ issuance of an amended opinion on Dec. 28 to acknowledge the ruling of Nachman Corp. v. PBGC, retirees filed a supplemental memorandum on Jan. 12, arguing that rehearing en banc is still warranted because the Sixth Circuit failed to follow Nachman’s holdings in determining that there was no due process violation in the termination of a salaried pension plan.

  • January 14, 2021

    ERISA Preemption Suit Should Be Vacated Based On Recent Ruling, Respondent Says

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should vacate and remand the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ finding that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts two sections of North Dakota code regulating pharmaceutical benefit manager (PBM) practices based on the high court’s recent ruling in a similar case, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association says in its Jan. 11 response brief.

  • January 13, 2021

    Disability Claimant Says Attending Medical Exam Would Be Unsafe Because Of COVID-19

    PHOENIX — In a Jan. 8 complaint filed against a disability insurer in Arizona federal court, a disability claimant who suffers from respiratory disease says a temporary restraining order is warranted to stop the insurer from forcing her to undergo an independent medical exam because attending the exam would be unsafe based on the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Arizona.

  • January 12, 2021

    Judge Dismisses ERISA Third-Party Claim In Self-Insured Employee Benefit Plan Case

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A payroll services company was not a fiduciary that had a role in any alleged negligent failure to obtain reinsurance coverage for a self-insured employee benefit plan, a California federal judge ruled Jan. 7, dismissing a third-party claim filed by the plan’s third-party administrators for relief under Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • January 12, 2021

    Insurer’s Duty Under ERISA In Coverage Denial Notices At Issue In 9th Circuit

    SAN FRANCISCO — Insurers routinely issue generalized denial notices designed to open communication channels with insureds in an effort to balance the needs for quick coverage determinations with the duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to explain the decision, an insurer tells the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Dec. 28 appellant brief, urging reversal of a ruling certifying a class of insureds who claim that they were improperly denied coverage for lactation services under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

  • January 12, 2021

    Breach Of Fiduciary Lawsuit Properly Dismissed, 9th Circuit Determines

    SEATTLE — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 7 affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a pension plan participant’s breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit against the plan trustees after determining that the participant lacks standing to bring the breach of fiduciary duty claims against the trustees.

  • January 12, 2021

    Former United Way Employee Asks U.S. High Court To Weigh In On Race Bias Dispute

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A former employee of a United Way Worldwide (UWW) member who claims that she was fired after alleging that her employer was violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and Section 1981 of the U.S. Civil Rights Act filed a petition for a writ of certiorari on Dec. 28, seeking a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on whether UWW may be liable for her firing under Section 1981.

  • January 11, 2021

    Pension Plan Administrator Sues, Alleges Fees Wrongly Withheld By Plan Manager

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A dental practice’s pension plan and its plan administrator filed a putative class complaint on Jan. 4 in a federal court in California, accusing the administrator and manager of its plan assets of engaging in prohibited transactions by improperly withholding fees when it sought to transfer plan assets to another manager.

  • January 11, 2021

    U.S. High Court Won’t Hear CIGNA Reimbursement Rates Arguments

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 11 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by a medical center that argued that a March ruling by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals conflicted with various other circuit courts on the question of what constitutes the proper legal standard for reviewing the benefits determinations of administrators for plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • January 11, 2021

    Health Plan Participants Failed To Show Any Irreparable Harm, Federal Judge Says

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on Jan. 6 denied a motion for preliminary injunction in a dispute over premium payments for retirees’ medical and dental care after determining that the plan participants failed to demonstrate irreparable harm as a result of the company’s decision to require retirees to pay premium payments.

  • January 08, 2021

    Magistrate Judge Recommends Discovery Proceed In Verizon Death Benefit Suit

    CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in June ruled only that the beneficiary of an ERISA-governed plan should be able to pursue her Section 502(a)(3) claim against Verizon Communications Inc. and did not dictate the outcome, a federal magistrate judge in New York wrote Dec. 29, recommending denying the beneficiary’s motion for summary judgment and granting a motion by Verizon for discovery.

  • January 08, 2021

    U.S. High Court Requests Response To Gannett Fiduciary Duty Petition

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 4 requested a response to a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by Gannett Co. Inc. and The Gannett Benefit Plans Committee arguing that a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision that it breached the fiduciary duties of prudence and diversification through its administration of a 401(k) retirement plan created a circuit split regarding the diversification requirement under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • January 07, 2021

    6th Circuit Denies Rehearing On Jury Trial Amendment In Disability Benefits Suit

    CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 21 denied a petition for rehearing en banc, refusing to reconsider its denial of a petition for a writ of mandamus filed by a former disability benefits recipient seeking to amend his complaint challenging the discontinuation of his benefits to add a jury demand.

  • January 07, 2021

    P&G Retiree’s Retirement Calculation Fiduciary Breach Claim Survives Dismissal

    CINCINNATI — A retiree who alleges that his employer’s retirement income policy at the time he localized to the United States ensured that his would not be monetarily penalized at retirement may proceed with his breach of fiduciary duty claim alleging that at retirement an arrangement plan that he never saw was used to calculate his benefits to his detriment, a federal judge in Ohio ruled Jan. 4.

  • January 06, 2021

    Benefit Plan Participants Ask U.S. High Court To Clarify Dudenhoeffer

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Since the 2014 decision in Fifth Third Corp. v. Dudenhoeffer, courts of appeals have differed on whether employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) fiduciaries are immune from duty-of-prudence claims that are based on the failure to publicly disclose inside information where such a disclosure would cause a stock drop, Wells Fargo & Co. plan participants argue in their petition for a writ of certiorari filed Dec. 23 in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a ruling on immunity, as well as whether Dudenhoeffer’s framework also applies to duty-of-loyalty claims.

  • January 06, 2021

    Hospital, CIGNA Brief High Court In Dispute Over Reimbursement Rates

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Dec. 18 reply brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, a medical center maintains that a March ruling by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals conflicts with various other circuit courts on the question of what constitutes the proper legal standard for reviewing the benefits determinations of administrators for plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • January 06, 2021

    NFL Disability Plan’s Petition For Rehearing Of Abuse Of Discretion Ruling Denied

    ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 5 denied a petition for panel rehearing or rehearing en banc filed by the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan, refusing to reconsider its finding that the disability plan abused its discretion in failing to consider relevant evidence and in failing to consider the cumulative effects of a former National Football League player’s ailments.

  • January 05, 2021

    Judge Won’t Stay Reprocessing Of Residential Treatment Claims In ERISA Action

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal magistrate judge in California on Dec. 28 declined to stay reprocessing of residential treatment class action claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, saying that the court already rejected many of the arguments raised by the insurer and that a business that recently saw record income is not threatened by the costs.

  • January 05, 2021

    District Court Properly Found Benefits Termination Was Not Arbitrary, Capricious

    PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 30 affirmed a district court’s finding that the termination of a claimant’s disability benefits was not arbitrary and capricious because the termination of benefits was not against the weight of the medical evidence.

  • December 31, 2020

    Goldman Bid To Undo Denied Dismissal Request Falls Short In New York

    NEW YORK — A request by Goldman Sachs to certify for interlocutory appeal a New York federal judge’s determination that a complaint against the investment banker is not procedurally deficient was denied Dec. 28 by the same judge (Leonid Falberg v. Goldman Sachs, No. 19-9910, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 242934).