Mealey's ERISA

  • December 21, 2021

    6th Circuit:  Forfeited ERISA Equitable Lien Argument Spoils ‘Jurisprudential Feast’

    CINCINNATI — A self-funded employee welfare benefit plan that sought an equitable lien against a law firm under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act forfeited its right to argue the lowest intermediate balance test in challenging a Tennessee federal court’s finding that commingled funds had been dissipated, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 17.

  • December 21, 2021

    Residential Treatment Denial Overturned On De Novo Review Following Remand

    SALT LAKE CITY — In a Nov. 30 decision on remand from the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a Utah federal judge granted summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs who challenged a denial of benefits for psychiatric residential treatment, ruling that the health plan administrator abandoned one stated rationale for the denial and its arguments on the other were “unpersuasive.”

  • December 17, 2021

    Counsel Gets 3rd Of $13M Fund In Settlement Of Suit Over UPenn Pension Plans

    PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Dec. 14 granted final approval to an agreement under which The University of Pennsylvania will establish a $13 million settlement fund in exchange for the release of class action claims by participants in the university’s 403(b) defined contribution pension benefits plans; the judge also approved awards from the fund of $4,333,333 for attorney fees and $25,000 each to six class representatives.

  • December 17, 2021

    Appellees To High Court: Estoppel Is Reason Not To Review ERISA Prudence Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Arguing against U.S. Supreme Court review of a ruling that they stated a claim of imprudence against New York University (NYU) under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, retirement plan participants in a Dec. 15 opposition say that “[p]rinciples of waiver and estoppel preclude the relief NYU seeks, which is wholly unnecessary in any event.”

  • December 16, 2021

    PBGC To High Court Over Pension Plan Termination: No Conflict, No Review Needed

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Arguing in part that there is no circuit split, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a Dec. 15 filing that no review is needed of a ruling that it did not violate due process in terminating a pension plan with the plan administrator without court adjudication.

  • December 15, 2021

    Insurer To High Court: Resolve Circuit Split Over ERISA Contribution, Indemnity

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Arguing that a ruling that it cannot seek contribution and indemnity from an employer that it alleges was a co-fiduciary of a life insurance policy offered through an employee welfare benefit plan is wrong and “entrenches a split” in which the Eighth and Ninth circuit courts of appeals conflict with the Second and Seventh circuits, an insurer on Dec. 7 petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a grant of certiorari.

  • December 14, 2021

    Respondents Tell High Court Beneficiary Determination Case Lacks Circuit Conflict

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should deny review, a life insurer and employer assert in Dec. 13 opposition to a petition for certiorari filed by an estate administrator who was denied life insurance benefits when an insured died without naming a beneficiary, arguing that the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling in their favor was correct and involves neither a circuit conflict nor an important question of federal law.

  • December 14, 2021

    Chamber Denied Leave To Participate In ERISA Class Fees, Funds Suit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Dec. 7 denied the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America’s motion for leave to participate as amicus curiae in a suit challenging a defined contribution retirement plan’s fees and selection of funds under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • December 13, 2021

    ERISA Insurer: Reviewers’ Decisions Support Denial For Residential Treatments

    DENVER — The fact that three separate reviewers found residential treatment not medically necessary demonstrates that a denial of insurance coverage was not arbitrary or capricious and should end the analysis even if a separate reason for denying coverage was improper, an insurer tells the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Dec. 8 opening brief.

  • December 13, 2021

    High Court Denies Certiorari For Fiduciary Duty Petition Conditioned On Gannett

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 13 denied certiorari for a petition by retirement plan participants concerning whether dismissal on the pleadings is appropriate when a fiduciary is accused of imprudence based on maintaining a single-stock fund in a defined contribution plan where participants may sell their shares and reinvest in diversified funds.

  • December 13, 2021

    U.S. Supreme Court Won’t Review 4th Circuit 401(k) Diversification Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 13 denied certiorari to a petition from Gannett Co. Inc. and The Gannett Benefit Plans Committee regarding a dispute over the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s diversification requirement.

  • December 13, 2021

    High Court Seeks U.S. View On ERISA Fiduciary Dispute Over Insurer, PBM Price-Setting

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 13 invited the solicitor general to file a brief expressing the United States’ views on a petition by health plans and individual subscribers for review of a ruling that a health benefits provider and a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) were not acting as fiduciaries under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when they set prescription drug prices.

  • December 13, 2021

    Settlement Approved In University Of Miami ERISA Excessive Fee Suit

    MIAMI — A federal judge in Florida on Dec. 9 granted preliminary approval of a $1.85 million class action settlement in a lawsuit by participants in University of Miami’s defined contribution plan related to their claims of excessive fees.

  • December 10, 2021

    3rd Circuit: No Jurisdiction On Interlocutory Appeal Of ERISA Trust Case

    PHILADELPHIA — Finding lack of jurisdiction on the grounds that a challenged clarification order is not an injunction and does not modify an injunction, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 7 dismissed an interlocutory appeal in a suit over a pension trust governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • December 09, 2021

    High Court Denies Certiorari In Dispute Over Vesting Of Retiree Medical Benefits

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 6 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari in a dispute over whether benefits in retiree medical plans vested under the plans and collective bargaining and Employee Retirement Income Security Act documents.

  • December 08, 2021

    Disability Claimant Was Incapable Of Working Full Time, 4th Circuit Panel Says

    RICHMOND, Va. — A disability claimant is entitled to a reinstatement of disability benefits because the medical evidence shows that the claimant was incapable of working in a sedentary full-time employment position when his benefits were terminated, the Fourth District U.S. Court of Appeals said Dec. 7 in reversing a district court’s judgment in favor of the disability insurer.

  • December 08, 2021

    Petitioner Argues That 4th Circuit’s ERISA Party In Interest Ruling Creates Split

    WASHINGTON, D.C. —  A third-party service provider on Nov. 17 petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for certiorari on a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel’s ruling that it could be held liable as a nonfiduciary party in interest under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s prohibited transaction provision, arguing that the decision creates a split with the 10th Circuit.

  • December 08, 2021

    4th Circuit Affirms Liability In ESOP Purchase Case, Reverses On Debt Forgiveness

    RICHMOND, Va. — In a Dec. 6 ruling on an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) stock purchase that was found to be a prohibited transaction under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel affirmed that a retiring CEO was liable as a knowing participant, but reversed the lower court in approving a reduction in the damages award based on debt forgiveness.

  • December 07, 2021

    Justices Hear Pleading Standard Arguments In ERISA Fees Duty Of Prudence Suit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a case centered on the pleading standard for claims of breach of the duty of prudence under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act due to allegedly excessive fees, participants in Northwestern University’s defined-contribution retirement plans and the U.S. government as amicus curiae on Dec. 6 told U.S. Supreme Court justices that the challenged decision impermissibly sets a new rule and Northwestern contended that dismissal was proper.

  • December 06, 2021

    Record-Keeper Seeks Protective Order For DOL Subpoena In ERISA Investigation

    CHIGAGO — Following an Illinois federal court’s order granting enforcement of an administrative subpoena by the secretary of Labor against a company that provides record-keeping, administrative and consulting services for Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan clients, the company on Nov. 18 sought a protective order.

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