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Mealey's ERISA

  • August 20, 2018

    Judge Remands Suit Against Massachusetts Broker-Dealer To State’s Securities Division

    BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal judge on Aug. 16 granted a registered broker-dealer’s motion to remand a lawsuit alleging that it violated its internal policies as to the Fiduciary Rule by hosting incentivized sales contests, sending the lawsuit back to the Enforcement Section of the Massachusetts Securities Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth (Enforcement Section of the Massachusetts Securities Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth v. Scottrade, Inc., No. 18-10508, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138813).

  • August 20, 2018

    Labor Secretary Says ERISA Provides Relief Sought Against PricewaterhouseCoopers

    NEW YORK — In an Aug. 15 amicus curiae brief filed on behalf of the U.S. secretary of Labor, the secretary asserts that the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should find that a New York federal judge erred in granting a motion by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) for summary judgment on the pleadings in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action seeking a recalculation of benefits because ERISA allows the equitable relief sought by the plaintiffs (Timothy D. Laurent, et al. v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, et al., No. 18-487, 2nd Cir.).

  • August 20, 2018

    6th Circuit: GE Bargaining Agreement Didn’t Vest Health Care Benefits For Life

    CINCINNATI — Case law, including M & G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett and the “deluge of cases” decided since, stipulates that a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between General Electric Co. (GE) and multiple unions did not vest lifetime retirement health care benefits, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 16 (IUE-CWA, et al. v. General Electric Co., No. 17-3885, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 22813).

  • August 17, 2018

    Plan Participants Move For Preliminary Approval Of Settlement Of ERISA Suit

    NEW YORK — Under the terms of a proposed class action settlement in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act suit filed against Deutsche Bank Americas Holding Corp. and others for alleged violations in overseeing a 401(k) plan, Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay a gross settlement amount of $21.9 million into a common fund for the benefit of settlement class members, according to the plaintiffs’ Aug. 14 motion for preliminary approval of the settlement (Ramon Moreno, et al. v. Deutsche Bank Americas Holding Corp., et al., No. 15-cv-09936-LGS, S.D. N.Y.).

  • August 17, 2018

    Judge Stays Case Pending Appeal In Suit Over Mishandled Retirement Plans

    BALTIMORE — A federal judge in Maryland on Aug. 15 stayed a suit brought by plaintiffs accusing The Johns Hopkins University of allegedly mishandling employment retirement plans pending the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision as to whether to review a ruling dismissing some of the plaintiffs’ claims (Margaret E. Kelly, et al. v. The Johns Hopkins University, No. 16-2835, D. Md.).

  • August 16, 2018

    Summary Judgment Denied, Remand Ordered In ERISA Suit For Benefits After Overdose

    NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on Aug. 13 denied cross-motions for summary judgment in a lawsuit seeking accidental death benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act following a woman’s overdose and remanded to the plan administrator for further review, finding that the administrative process was flawed and violated ERISA’s requirement for a full and fair review (Kevin C. McCusker v. Unum Life Insurance Co. of America, et al., No. 17-1214, E.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136165).

  • August 16, 2018

    Plan Required Precertification For Air Transport Services, 6th Circuit Panel Says

    CINCINNATI — No coverage is owed to a health plan participant for air transport services because the participant did not receive precertification for the transport and did not prove that the transport was an emergency that was exempt from the precertification process, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Aug. 14 in affirming a district court’s ruling in favor of the plan (Jason Springer v. Cleveland Clinic Employee Health Plan Total Care, No. 17-4181, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 22478).

  • August 15, 2018

    Class Suit Over HIV Disclosure Is Remanded; No ERISA Preemption

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California federal judge on Aug. 10 remanded a class lawsuit accusing a health insurer of wrongfully disclosing insureds HIV-positive status, ruling that the state law claims are not preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (D.L. v. Aetna Inc., et al., No. 18-893, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136682).

  • August 14, 2018

    Petitioner: Court’s Ruling Allows Employer To Evade Reach Of ERISA, ADEA

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A petitioner on Aug. 2 asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ finding that an amendment to a pension plan's calculation of retirement income credits does not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act's anti-cutback rule, arguing that the lower court’s ruling puts ERISA and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act at stake (James P. Teufel v. The Northern Trust Co., et al., No. 18-163, U.S. Sup.)

  • August 14, 2018

    Claimant Entitled To STD Benefits Under Plan, 10th Circuit Panel Affirms

    DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 13 affirmed a district court’s ruling in favor of a disability claimant after determining that the claimant was entitled to short-term disability benefits under his company’s disability plan because the record does not contain substantial evidence showing that the claimant was capable of performing the duties of his job (Kevin McMillan v. AT&T Umbrella Benefit Plan No. 1, No. 17-5111, 10th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 22366).

  • August 14, 2018

    Claims Trimmed In Suit Over Denial Of Coverage For Outdoor Treatment Program

    SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on Aug. 9 narrowed the claims in a class complaint filed by a teenager seeking reimbursement for an outdoor mental health treatment program, dismissing with prejudice a claim that the denial of reimbursement was improper under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and claims seeking to enforce the plan and for equitable remedies, to the extent that they relied on a violation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (A.Z., et al. v. Regence Blueshield, et al., No. 17-1292, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134669).

  • August 10, 2018

    Texas Federal Judge Says Health Insurer Did Not Abuse Its Discretion

    HOUSTON — A Texas federal judge on Aug. 7 concluded that an out-of-network hospital failed to prove during an eight-day bench trial that Cigna Healthcare abused its discretion in adjusting health care claims assigned by patients to the hospital (North Cypress Medical Center Operating Company, et al. v. Cigna Healthcare, et al., No. 4:09-cv-2556, S.D. Texas; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132436).

  • August 9, 2018

    Judge Dismisses ERISA Suit Against SunEdison Directors, Investment Committee

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Aug. 6 dismissed a lawsuit alleging breaches of fiduciary and loyalty duties against SunEdison Inc.’s board of directors and investment committee by former employees who participated in the company’s defined-contribution retirement savings plan (In Re:  SunEdison Inc. ERISA Litigation, Nos. 16-2742 and 16-2744, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131866).

  • August 9, 2018

    Plan Participant Seeks Summary Judgment On Prohibited Transactions Claims

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A former employee accusing his employer and its retirement plan investment committee of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by charging 401(k) plan participants excessive fees and engaging in prohibited transactions argues in an Aug. 8 motion for partial summary judgment that judgment should be entered in his favor on the prohibited transactions claims because he met his burden of proving that the defendants engaged in prohibited transactions (Marlon H. Cryer, et al. v. Franklin Resources, Inc., et al., No. 16-4265, N.D. Calif.).

  • August 7, 2018

    High Court Should Review 9th Circuit’s Offset Ruling, Disability Claimant Says

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should grant review of a disability claimant’s petition for writ of certiorari in a dispute over the offsetting of a claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits to account for Social Security disability income (SSDI) benefits received on behalf of the claimant’s dependents because the plan administrators did not apply the language of the LTD plan as written, the claimant says in a June 22 reply brief (Susan Rene Jones v. Merck Sharpe & Dohme Corp., et al., No. 17-1478, U.S. Sup.).

  • August 7, 2018

    Coca-Cola Subsidiary Has No Duty To Reimburse Pension Plan Withdrawal Liability

    DULUTH, Minn. — A Minnesota federal judge on Aug. 2 held that there is no basis upon which a jury could conclude that Coca-Cola Refreshments USA Inc. has a duty to reimburse a labor-leasing service provider more than $500,000 in withdrawal liability assessed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, granting The Coca-Cola Co.’s subsidiary’s motion for summary judgment as to the breach of contract and promissory estoppel claims (Transport Drivers, Inc. v. Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc., No. 16-1074, D. Minn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129803).

  • August 7, 2018

    Judge Stays Citigroup 401(k) Suit In Order To Obtain Class Member Data

    NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Aug. 2 stayed a class action suit brought by participants in Citigroup’s 401(k) retirement plan against its administrators after learning that the defendants need more time to obtain transaction data regarding some class members to finalize the terms of a proposed $6.9 million settlement (Marya J. Leber v. Citigroup Inc., et al., No. 07-cv-009329, S.D. N.Y.).

  • August 6, 2018

    High Court’s Review Of Service-Of-Suit Ruling Is Not Warranted, Respondents Say

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should deny a petition for writ of certiorari because the Colorado Supreme Court’s dismissal of two long-term disability insurance lawsuits based on the failure to serve the proper parties was the proper decision and there is no conflict between federal courts of appeal regarding whether a benefit plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act is a proper defendant, the respondents argue in a July 25 brief (Brenda Olivar v. Public Service Employee Credit Union Long Term Disability Plan, and Caroline Burton, et al. v. Colorado Access, et al., No. 17-1543, U.S. Sup.).

  • August 6, 2018

    Denial Of Disability Benefits Supported By Substantial Evidence, Panel Says

    ATLANTA — A district court did not err in entering judgment in favor of a disability insurer because the insurer’s denial of any-occupation benefits was supported by substantial evidence and the court did not commit “plain error” in finding for the insurer, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Aug. 3 (Antonio Lopez v. Standard Insurance Co., No. 17-11012, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 21525).

  • August 6, 2018

    5th Circuit Finds Termination Of Disability Benefits Was Reasonable

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 3 determined that a district court did not err in concluding that substantial evidence supports a disability insurer’s termination of benefits based on the plan’s 24-month limitation for mental disorders (Ricky D. Hayes v. Dearborn National Life Insurance Co., No. 17-30670, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 21608).