Mealey's ERISA

  • November 16, 2021

    9th Circuit Upholds Benefits Plan Administrator’s Device Exclusion Under ERISA

    SAN FRANCISCO —  A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 12 upheld the dismissal of class allegations over denial of coverage for a nerve stimulation pain management treatment, ruling in an unpublished memorandum disposition that the plan incorporated a policy stating that the treatment is investigative and not medically necessary.

  • November 16, 2021

    Preliminary Approval Of $2.8M Settlement Sought In ERISA Mortality Table Dispute

    NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The plaintiff of an employee class action on Nov. 12 moved in a Virginia federal court for preliminary approval of an agreement under which a shipbuilder would pay additional benefits “with an estimated present value of $2.8 million” to settle allegations that the use of a 50-year-old mortality table to calculate benefits for some retirees violated of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • November 16, 2021

    High Court Seeks PBGC’s Response To Certiorari Petition Over Plan Termination

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 15 requested that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) respond by Dec. 15 to Delphi Corp. retirees’ certiorari petition seeking review of a ruling that the PBGC did not violate due process in terminating a pension plan through an agreement with the plan administrator without court adjudication.

  • November 15, 2021

    $9.65M Class Settlement Gets Final OK In ERISA Fiduciary Duty Case

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Nov. 3 granted final approval to an agreement by BlackRock Inc. and related fiduciaries of its 401(k) plan to pay $9.65 million to settle plan participants’ class claims that the plan’s investor improperly favored its own proprietary funds when selecting investment options.

  • November 15, 2021

    5th Circuit Denies Rehearing En Banc On ERISA Benefit Denial

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an Oct. 25 order denied panel rehearing and rehearing en banc regarding a decision that upheld a health plan benefit denial under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, declining an appellee’s request to reevaluate its “substantial evidence” standard for reviewing such denials.

  • November 12, 2021

    Class Says ERISA Preempts Washington Public Long-Term Care Insurance Program

    SEATTLE — Washington’s new public state-sponsored long-term care insurance program is unenforceable because it is preempted by the Employment Retirement Income Security Act and violates a number of state and federal laws, including those governing multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs), three companies and six individuals allege in a class action filed Nov. 9 in a federal court in Washington.

  • November 11, 2021

    Government To High Court: Gannett 401(k) Appeal Doesn’t Warrant Review

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should deny certiorari to an appeal over whether the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s diversification requirement applies at the plan or fund level, the U.S. government says in a Nov. 9 amicus curiae brief filed at the court’s request, asserting that there is no conflict that warrants review of the appellate decision concerning the Gannett Co. Inc. 401(k) Savings Plan.

  • November 10, 2021

    Summary Judgment Mostly Denied On ERISA Retaliation Claim Over Privacy Abuse Report

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An ex-employee of steel firms established a prima facie case for his claim of retaliation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and carried his pretext burden regarding all but two defendants, a federal judge in Missouri ruled Nov. 5, denying summary judgment as to all other defendants in the suit claiming that the man was fired for reporting abuse of privacy that allegedly took place during a scheme to mitigate liability from the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • November 08, 2021

    7 Amicus States Urge Certiorari Grant In Pension Plan Termination Row With PBGC

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Several amicus curiae briefs have been filed in support of Delphi Corp. retirees’ certiorari petition seeking U.S. Supreme Court review of a ruling that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) did not violate due process in terminating a pension plan, including one on Nov. 3 by the states of Michigan, Delaware, Florida, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

  • November 08, 2021

    Insurer, PBM Argue Against High Court Review Of ERISA Fiduciary Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A health benefits provider and a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) argue in respondent briefs filed Nov. 3 that the U.S. Supreme Court should not review a ruling that they were not acting as fiduciaries under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when they set prescription drug prices; in an amicus brief filed the same day supporting the petitioners, an advocacy organization argues that “the holdings in the case foreshadow broad-ranging and damaging impacts for participants in employee benefit plans of all types, including retirement plans.”

  • November 08, 2021

    Solicitor General Gets Argument Time In High Court ERISA Fees Duty Of Prudence Suit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 8 granted the solicitor general permission to participate in oral argument, divided argument and an enlargement of time for argument after Northwestern University told the court that a federal judge in Illinois did not err in rejecting allegations that its defined-contribution retirement plan runs afoul of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because “the duty of prudence is not breached simply” by “marginal cost differences among certain investment options that are otherwise sound” and more than two dozen amicus curiae entities filed briefs supporting Northwestern’s argument.

  • November 08, 2021

    Caltech’s Retirement Plan Files Deemed Relevant In Class Action Over USC Plans

    LOS ANGELES — In a Nov. 2 in chambers order, a California federal magistrate found that certain documents related to a retirement plan offered by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) were relevant to a class action filed over two retirement plans offered by the University of Southern California (USC), leading him to grant a motion to compel Caltech to produce the documents, ruling that the nonparty’s compliance would not be burdensome and finding the documents to not be privileged.

  • November 08, 2021

    Supreme Court Will Decide Medicare Dialysis Compensation Case

    SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 5 agreed to decide a health care provider’s case challenging the proper benefits level for dialysis under the Medicare Secondary Payor Act and whether an Employee Retirement Income Security Act insurance plan’s restrictions on compensation for the procedure unlawfully discriminated against end-stage renal disease sufferers.

  • November 05, 2021

    Respondents Waive Response In High Court Appeal Of AD&D ‘Crime’ Benefits Denial

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A life and accident plan, its sponsor and its insurer on Nov. 1 waived their right to respond to a beneficiary’s U.S. Supreme Court petition for a writ of certiorari on an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision that overturned a lower court’s ruling and upheld a denial of benefits under a “crime” exclusion on the basis that the insured was speeding and passing improperly.

  • November 04, 2021

    CalSavers’ Response To Certiorari Petition On No ERISA Preemption Ruling Sought

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 2 requested a response to a taxpayer lobbying group’s petition for a writ of certiorari on the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling that the state-run IRA program California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program (CalSavers) is not preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • November 04, 2021

    $13.75M Settlement Of Suit Over Walgreen’s Retirement Plan Funds Gets Preliminary OK

    CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on Nov. 1 granted preliminary approval to a class action settlement in which Walgreen Co. and related fiduciaries agreed to pay $13.75 million and retirement plan participants who brought the suit agreed to release claims arising from or relating to allegedly imprudent investments.

  • November 04, 2021

    Termination Of LTD Benefits Was Reasonable Based On Medical Evidence, Panel Says

    CHICAGO — A district court properly found that a disability insurer’s termination of long-term disability benefits was reasonable based on the medical evidence, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Nov. 3 in rejecting the claimant’s argument that the insurer failed to properly credit the opinion of his treating physician.

  • November 03, 2021

    District Court Retained Jurisdiction In Disability Benefits Suit, Panel Says

    CINCINNATI — A district court erred in determining that it did not have jurisdiction to hear a disability claimant’s motion for attorney fees and motion to reopen her case because the court retained jurisdiction over the suit even though the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals previously remanded the claims to the plan administrator, the Sixth Circuit said Nov. 2 in vacating the lower court’s ruling.

  • November 03, 2021

    Certiorari Grant Urged In Retirees’ Pension Plan Termination Row With PBGC

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Retiree Legislative Network (NRLN) on Nov. 2 filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Delphi Corp. retirees’ certiorari petition seeking U.S. Supreme Court review of a ruling that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) did not violate due process in terminating a pension plan.

  • November 02, 2021

    9th Circuit Affirms Attorney Fee Award To Multiemployer Plan Under ERISA

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal court did not abuse its discretion by granting an award of $208,395.45 in appellate attorney fees to a multiemployer welfare plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in an Oct. 28 unpublished memorandum disposition.

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