Mealey's ERISA

  • May 24, 2022

    9th Circuit Reverses, Remands Denial Of Attorney Fees In Disability Suit

    PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 20 reversed a district court’s denial of a disability claimant’s motion for attorney fees after determining that the district court failed to properly view the remand of a long-term disability benefits claim as constituting some success on the merits.

  • May 24, 2022

    Appellants Argue Individual Right Of Action In ERISA Suit Filed On Behalf Of Plan

    PHILADELPHIA — Retirement plan participants challenging fees and funds under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act argue in a May 16 brief before the Third Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeals that they cannot be compelled to arbitrate with plan consultant NFP Retirement Inc. because they did not consent to the agreement that their employer signed on behalf of the plan.

  • May 23, 2022

    New Jersey Federal Judge: Patients Can Sue Under ERISA For COVID-19 Test Coverage

    NEWARK, N.J. — Ruling that federal laws known as the Families First and CARES acts “mandate coverage of COVID-19 testing as a benefit under” plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and that the medical practice that filed the suit “established standing to sue under ERISA” by alleging that patients assigned it their rights, a New Jersey federal judge on May 18 denied an insurer’s motion to dismiss the case.

  • May 23, 2022

    $15M Class Settlement Over 401(k) Plan’s Single Stock Losses Gets Preliminary OK

    OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma federal judge on May 19 granted preliminary approval to a class settlement agreement, under which defendants accused of breaching their fiduciary duties by investing a large percentage of a retirement plan’s assets in the stock of one company and sitting “by idly” as the share price fell from $29 to $4 would pay $15 million to resolve claims against them.

  • May 23, 2022

    U.S. High Court Won’t Review ERISA Estoppel Misrepresentation Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on May 23 denied review in a case in which the petitioner seeking a writ of certiorari argued that four of the U.S. circuit courts of appeals would have permitted her claim for equitable estoppel under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the respondent contended that “There is no circuit split warranting clarification by this Court.”

  • May 23, 2022

    Washington Federal Judge Denies Entry Of Judgment After Dismissing WA Cares Suit

    SEATTLE — Ruling that “Absent subject matter jurisdiction, the Court cannot enter judgment in favor of either side,” a Washington federal judge on May 16 denied defendants’ motion for entry of judgment on a separate document dismissing the plaintiffs’ claims without prejudice, which followed dismissal of the putative class challenge to Washington’s new public state-sponsored long-term care insurance program known as WA Cares.

  • May 19, 2022

    Preliminary OK Sought For $1.75M Class Settlement In ERISA Fees, Funds Suit

    NEWARK, N.J. — Participants who filed a challenge to fees and funds in a health system’s defined contribution retirement plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act on May 16 moved in New Jersey federal court for preliminary certification of a non-opt-out settlement class and preliminary approval of a $1.75 million settlement under which each class member would receive at least $10.

  • May 18, 2022

    ERISA Preempts Negligence, Breach Claims Over Retirement Plan; Remand Denied

    BALTIMORE — Ruling that there was no lack of unanimous consent to removal and that the plaintiffs’ “claims are completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act,” a Maryland federal judge on May 16 denied the plaintiffs’ motion to remand a suit in which they allege they were sold a retirement plan that was “completely unsuitable and inappropriate.”

  • May 18, 2022

    California Law, Not DOL Characterization, Governs Time Bar On ERISA Claim

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — Saying that whether the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) characterizes a section of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act “as a penalty, a remedy, a tax, or highway robbery” does not “change how California law applies,” a California federal judge on May 13 denied a motion for judgment on the pleadings on allegations that an employee benefit plan administrator failed to timely provide documents upon request.

  • May 17, 2022

    Judge In ERISA Row Finds Standing Despite Alleged De Minimis Injury

    MILWAUKEE — Rejecting the defendants’ argument that the alleged injury-in-fact could not exceed 22 cents or less and therefore the plaintiff lacks standing, a Wisconsin federal judge on May 12 allowed the filing of a second amended complaint in a putative class action challenging 401(k) fees and funds under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which the plaintiff filed the same day.

  • May 17, 2022

    Unopposed Class Certification OK’d In ERISA Suit Over Allegedly ‘Imprudent’ Options

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina on May 12 granted an unopposed motion for class certification in a suit that participants in a defined-contribution retirement plan filed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act challenging what they allege are “objectively imprudent investment options.”

  • May 17, 2022

    High Court Denies Doctor’s Mandamus Bid Over Assignment Of ERISA Statutory Claims

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on May 16 denied two petitions filed by an out-of-network doctor seeking an emergency writ of mandamus directing a Georgia federal court “to halt the unlawful blockade” of “payment and non-payment related” rights under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • May 13, 2022

    Judge Won’t Modify ERISA Section In Dismissal Of Federal WA Cares Suit

    SEATTLE — Denying reconsideration of his order dismissing a putative class challenge to Washington’s new public state-sponsored long-term care insurance program known as WA Cares, a Washington federal judge on May 11 said the plaintiffs’ argument that the part of his ruling pertaining to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act was unnecessary because of his holding as to the Tax Injunction Act (TIA) was “exactly backwards.”

  • May 13, 2022

    Plan’s Decision To Terminate Disability Benefits Was Reasonable, Panel Says

    CHICAGO — A panel of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 11 affirmed a district court’s ruling in favor of a disability plan after determining that the decision to terminate a claimant’s short-term disability benefits was not arbitrary and capricious; however, the panel reversed the lower court’s award in favor of the plan for pro hac vice admission fees after determining that those fees are not taxable costs.

  • May 12, 2022

    Class Counsel Gets $700K In Fees For ERISA Mortality Table Dispute That Settled

    NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A federal judge in Virginia on May 10 granted final approval of a $2.8 million class settlement over allegations that the use of a 50-year-old mortality table to calculate benefits for some retirees violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act; the judge also awarded class counsel a quarter of the settlement — $700,000 — for attorney fees and $305,376.98 for expenses and costs and approved a contribution award of $10,000 for the named plaintiff.

  • May 11, 2022

    Defendant Wins Summary Judgment In ERISA Fiduciary Duty Suit Over FTCs

    MIAMI — In May 9 public versions of orders previously filed under seal, a Florida federal magistrate judge granted summary judgment on all claims against the trustees of a 401(k) plan who filed a class suit against the issuer of a group annuity contract over foreign tax credits (FTCs) and issued an omnibus ruling on six motions regarding expert testimony.

  • May 10, 2022

    Plaintiffs Seek Modification Of ERISA Section In Dismissal Of Federal WA Cares Suit

    SEATTLE — Arguing in part that the court’s finding as to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act “was not necessary due to its holding regarding the Tax Injunction Act [TIA],” plaintiffs fighting Washington’s new public state-sponsored long-term care insurance program known as WA Cares on May 6 asked a Washington federal judge to modify that part of his order dismissing their putative class challenge without prejudice for lack of jurisdiction.

  • May 09, 2022

    8th Circuit: Insurer Violated Fiduciary Duties By Not Maintaining Effective System

    ST. LOUIS — An insurer sued for allegedly mishandling an enrollment for supplemental life insurance and then declaring the applicant ineligible after she died played a fiduciary role and breached its duties of prudence and loyalty “by failing to maintain an effective enrollment system,” an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel said on May 6, upholding a grant of summary judgment in favor of the decedent’s husband.

  • May 09, 2022

    AARP:  2nd Circuit Decision Over Reinterpretation Of ‘Retires’ Contradicts Heinz

    NEW YORK — In an amicus curiae brief filed May 4, AARP and AARP Foundation (together, AARP) supported the participants in a defined-benefit multiemployer pension plan in urging rehearing and rehearing en banc of a dispute over reinterpretation of “retires,” arguing that the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel wrongly held “that tax considerations are a special case permitting Plans to retroactively strip workers of already-accrued pension benefits.”

  • May 06, 2022

    Class Warns 9th Circuit Of Impact From ERISA Coverage Ruling

    SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruling allows an insurer to deny coverage based on guidelines inconsistent with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan’s own clear language mandating it follow the medical community’s generally accepted standards of care and which were formulated by the insurer’s finance department in a clear conflict of interest, a class argues in a May 5 petition seeking rehearing in a case it termed “an inflection point and a bellwether.”