WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an April 29 opposition brief, a respondent told the U.S. Supreme Court it should deny a petition for certiorari that poses the question of whether the “actual knowledge” exception to the “generally applicable” six-year statute of limitations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act requires both knowledge that imprudent investment occurred and knowledge, at the time, that the investment was imprudent (Christopher Sulyma, et al. v. Intel Corporation Investment Policy Committee, et al., No. 17-15864, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO — A reasonable person would interpret a man’s cause of death of autoerotic asphyxiation to be an “intentionally self-inflicted injury” under life insurance policies governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a majority of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 29, reversing a lower court (LeTran Tran v. Minnesota Life Insurance Co., No. 18-1723, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12895).
BAY CITY, Mich. — A federal judge in Michigan on April 26 turned down an insurer’s request to dismiss on remand an Indian tribe’s claims that the insurer violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to pay Medicare-like rates for hospital services under two health care plans, saying more factual development is needed at this stage of the litigation (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 1:16-cv-10317, E.D. Mich., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70688).
CINCINNATI — In an April 25 holding, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that a plaintiff who failed to diligently pursue her claim for surviving-spouse benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act is barred by the six-year statute of limitations in Tennessee for pursuing a contract claim (Joyce Ensley v. Charles Whobrey, et al., No. 18-5459, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12626).
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A disability and life insurance plan provided to employees of a public library is not exempt under the governmental agency exception in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the library does not qualify as an agency of the government of New York City or the borough of Brooklyn, a New York federal judge said April 18 in denying the disability claimant’s motion to remand (Brian J. Skornick v. Principal Financial Group, et al., No. 18-4324, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66124).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on April 5 entered final approval of a $9 million settlement to resolve allegations that Prudential Insurance Company of America breached its fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when failing to make lump sum payments to beneficiaries (Clark R. Huffman, et al. v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 10cv5135, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58667).
CHICAGO — Participants in the Boeing Voluntary Investment Plan on March 31 filed a class action in a federal district court alleging that Boeing and its plan fiduciaries’ failure to publicly disclose the truth about the company’s 737 Max aircraft’s safety problems left the public unaware and led to inflation of the company’s stock price (Diane Burke, et al. v. The Boeing Company, et al., No. 19-02203, N.D. Ill.).
NEW ORLEANS — A district court did not err in granting a disability insurer’s motion for summary judgment because the insurer properly denied a claim for long-term disability benefits under the policy, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 26 in noting that the claimant is not disabled from his regular occupation (Deo G. Shanker v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 18-20616, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12555).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Home health aides filed a first amended class action complaint on April 24 in a New York federal court, alleging that their employers’ captive insurance and reinsurance scheme cheated them out of lost wages and benefits (Ynes M. Gonzalez de Fuente, et al. v. Preferred Home Care of New York LLC, et al., No. 18-6749, E.D. N.Y.).
PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 25 affirmed a district court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of a disability insurer after determining that the insurer’s termination of long-term disability benefits was reasonable based on the evidence considered by the insurer (Kenneth Baker v. Sun Life and Health Insurance Co., No. 17-2048, 3rd Cir.; 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12415).
DENVER — Allegations that an investment consultant for an employee 401(k) plan breached its duty of loyalty were partly rejected April 23 by a Colorado federal judge, who found that plaintiffs in the case may not bring direct action claims for losses to the entire plan allegedly attributable to the consultant (Lorraine M. Ramos, et al. v. Banner Health, et al., No. 15-2556, D. Colo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68663).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Plan participants on April 22 moved for preliminary approval of a $14.5 settlement of their lawsuit accusing Vanderbilt University, the oversight committee and members of the committee of mismanaging the employee retirement plan in violation of the Employee Income Retirement Security Act (Loren L. Cassell, et al. v. Vanderbilt University, et al., No. 16-2086, M.D. Tenn.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 23 upheld a California federal judge’s determination that a 401(k) plan sponsor engaged in self-dealing under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and agreed that the sponsor is not entitled to a “reasonable compensation” exemption under the statute for record-keeping services (Alexander Acosta, Secretary of Labor v. City National Corporation, et al., No. 17-55421, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11718).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 22 denied a retirement plan participant’s motion for rehearing or rehearing en banc, refusing to revisit its finding that a district court properly concluded that a fund operator accused of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act is not a fiduciary with respect to a portfolio fund (John Teets v. Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, No. 18-1019, 10th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12002).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its April 22 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court invited the U.S. solicitor general to weigh in on a dispute between two beneficiaries and their retirement plan over the standard for establishing loss causation under the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (Putnam Investments LLC, et al. v. John Brotherston, et al., No. 18-926, U.S. Sup.).
ST. LOUIS — In an April 17 petition for rehearing en banc, a class of retirees asserts that the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently committed five errors when finding that the plaintiffs’ health benefits were not vested as a matter of law (Augustine Pacheco, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., Nos. 18-1006 and 18-1294, 8th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Participants in a pension plan filed a petition for writ of certiorari on April 4 in the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that review of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision on whether equitable remedies other than disgorgement might be available on the participants’ breach of fiduciary duty claim is warranted because the decision conflicts with those of other circuits and has the effect of prohibiting a participant’s right to gains earned on a terminated plan’s assets after termination (K. Wendell Lewis, et al., v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., No. 18-1279, U.S. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS — A decedent’s ex-wife’s $500,000 judgment regarding 401(k) retirement funds was affirmed by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 16 based upon a timely qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) issued to the ex-wife (Pam Miletello v. R M R Mechanical Inc., et al., No. 18-30942, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11120).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on April 16 partially granted an investment adviser’s motion to dismiss a plaintiff’s claims regarding two funds included in a Safeway Inc.’s 401(k) plan because the adviser’s actions regarding those funds occurred outside of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s six-year statute of repose (Maria Karla Terraza v. Safeway Inc., et al., No. 16-3994, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65237).
NEW YORK — A demolition contractor’s claims against a trucking employees’ pension fund are subject to mandatory arbitration under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, as amended by the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act (MPPAA), the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 16 (Gramercy Wrecking and Environmental Contractors v. Trucking Employees of North Jersey Welfare Fund Inc., No. 18-2001, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11047).