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Mealey's ERISA

  • January 3, 2019

    Plan Member Voluntarily Drops Appeal Of Ruling Dismissing ERISA Class Action

    NEW YORK — A plan member of the Cedar-Sinai Medical Center 403(b) Retirement Plan on Dec. 19 dismissed her appeal in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that sought reversal of a federal judge in Connecticut’s ruling dismissing her class action suit in which she accused the plan of breaching its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by unlawfully setting its stable value funds’ credited rate for its own benefit (Darlene Dezelan v. Voya Retirement Insurance and Annuity Company, No. 18-2732, 2nd Cir.).

  • January 2, 2019

    IBM Fiduciaries Seek Review Of 2nd Circuit Ruling On Duty-Of-Prudence Claim

    NEW YORK — Fiduciaries of an IBM employee stock option plan (ESOP) on Dec. 21 filed a petition for rehearing en banc with the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, seeking review of its decision that employees plausibly asserted a duty-of-prudence claim against them and arguing that the decision conflicts with current governing authority that fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act do not arise outside a fiduciary capacity (Larry W. Jander, et al. v. Retirement Plans Committee of IBM, et al., No. 17-3518, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 34621).

  • January 2, 2019

    Successor Had Constructive Notice Of Withdrawal Liability, Judge Says

    TOLEDO, Ohio — The purchaser of a wire-forming company that had a $644,311 withdrawal liability to a multiemployer pension plan is liable to repay the amount because it had constructive notice of the liability at the time of the purchase, a federal judge in Ohio ruled Dec. 26 in granting partial summary judgment in favor of the plan (Members of the Board of the Administration of the Toledo Area UAW Retirement Income Plan v. OBZ Inc., et al., No. 15CV756, N.D. Ohio, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 215926).

  • December 31, 2018

    Judge: ERISA Preempts Some Claims Stemming From Health Care Data Disclosure

    ORLANDO, Fla. — An individual’s claims against Aetna Life Insurance Co. (ALIC) for breach of contract, negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress based on the disclosure of the plaintiff’s HIV status that was viewable through an envelope window are preempted by Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 502, a federal judge in Florida ruled Dec. 27 in granting in part the insurer’s motion to dismiss, explaining that the allegations rest on the terms of the plaintiff’s plan with the insurer (John Doe v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 18-cv-979-Orl-37GJK, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 216447).

  • December 21, 2018

    Retirement Plan Participants Say Pepsi Violated ERISA In Federal Lawsuit

    NEW YORK — A group of participants in a retirement plan on Dec. 12 sued PepsiCo Inc. and others in a New York federal court, asserting they violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 by improperly reducing annuity benefits for plan participants and beneficiaries who receive certain annuities (William DuBuske, et al. v. PepsiCo, Inc., et al., No. 18-cv-11618, S.D. N.Y.).

  • December 19, 2018

    Prohibited Transaction Claim Related To Offering Of Funds Barred By Limitations Statute

    BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal judge on Dec. 14 dismissed one of two prohibited transactions claims against 401(k) plan defendants after determining that the claim related to the  offering of the plan’s mutual funds is barred by the applicable three-year statute of limitations because the plaintiffs had actual knowledge of the alleged prohibited transaction on the day that they elected their plan options (In re:  G.E. ERISA Litigation, No. 17-12123, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 211106).

  • December 19, 2018

    Judge Preliminarily Approves $7.4M Class Action Settlement Involving Dave & Busters

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge issued an order on Dec. 7 preliminarily approving a $7.4 million class action settlement to resolve a lawsuit in which a former Dave & Buster’s Inc. employee accused the chain of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by reducing the hours of its work force in 2013 to avoid the costs associated with providing health insurance to its full-time employees in compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Maria De Lourdes Parra Marin, on behalf of herself and all other persons similarly situated v. Dave & Buster’s, Inc., et al., No. 15-3608, S.D. N.Y.).

  • December 19, 2018

    SunEdison Directors, Committee Ask 2nd Circuit To Affirm Dismissal Of ERISA Suit

    NEW YORK — SunEdison Inc.’s board of directors and investment committee on Dec. 17 asked the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to affirm a lower federal court’s dismissal of a breach of fiduciary duty and loyalty lawsuit brought by former employees who participated in the company’s defined-contribution retirement savings plan (Eric O’Day, et al. v Ahmad Chatila, et al., Nos. 18-2621 and 18-2632, 2nd Cir.).

  • December 18, 2018

    ACA, ERISA, UCL HIV Drug Discrimination Claims Fail, Judge Says

    SAN FRANCISCO — HIV/AIDS drug purchasers who allege that a health insurer violated their privacy and discriminated against them by requiring the use of mail order or pickup services fail to state claims under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), California unfair competition law (UCL) or Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a federal judge in California held Dec. 12 (John Doe One, et al. v. CVS Pharmacy Inc., et al., No. 18-1031, N.D. Calif.).

  • December 17, 2018

    Out-Of-Network Medical Provider’s Conspiracy Action Headed Back To State Court

    TRENTON, N.J. — An out-of-network medical provider’s “unique” conspiracy suit involving 14 causes of action against 17 defendants does not invoke the right to payment under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and sufficiently alleges the existence of an independent legal duty, a federal judge in New Jersey held in remanding the action on Dec. 14 (North Jersey Brain & Spine Center v. MultiPlan Inc., et al., No. 17-5967, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 211272).

  • December 14, 2018

    Panel Upholds Employee’s Challenge Of Termination Of Retirement Benefits

    RICHMOND, Va. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 7 affirmed entry of summary judgment to an employee on his claim under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, challenging a decision to terminate retirement benefits and retiree health care coverage (Stanley J. Golden v. Donald Barnett, et al., No. 18-1665, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 34506).

  • December 13, 2018

    In Win For Xerox, 2nd Circuit Says Pension Plan ERISA Claims Untimely

    NEW YORK — In a Dec. 12 holding, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that a claim for benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by a participant in Xerox Corp.’s pension plan is time-barred (Robert Testa v. Lawrence Becker, et al., Nos. 17‐1826‐cv, 17‐1985‐cv, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 34913).

  • December 12, 2018

    District Court Did Not Err In Finding Plan’s Calculations Were Proper, Panel Says

    SAN FRANCISCO — A district court did not err in finding that a multiemployer pension plan correctly applied a prior partial withdrawal credit before applying a credit under the debt forgiveness provision, as outlined in the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act (MPPAA), after a union withdrew its participation in the retirement fund, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said Dec. 7 (GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund, et al. v. Quad/Graphics Inc., No. 17-55667, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 34489).

  • December 11, 2018

    Judge Orders Plan Fiduciaries To Pay Restitution Over Tobacco Use Surcharge

    INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge in Indiana on Nov. 28 ordered the fiduciaries of the Dorel Juvenile Group Inc. Welfare Benefit Plan to pay $145,635 in restitution to 596 employees who paid a tobacco use surcharge as part of their medical insurance from Jan. 1, 2013, through Dec. 21, 2017, in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (R. Alexander Acosta v. Dorel Juvenile Group Inc., et al., No. 18-cv-2993, S.D. Ind.).

  • December 11, 2018

    Duty-Of-Prudence Claim Sufficiently Alleged Under ERISA, 2nd Circuit Says

    NEW YORK — Employees plausibly asserted a duty‐of‐prudence claim against fiduciaries of an IBM employee stock option plan (ESOP) under a stricter standard for violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Dec. 10, reversing and remanding a lower court’s judgment (Larry W. Jander, et al. v. Retirement Plans Committee of IBM, et al., No. 17-3518, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 34621).

  • December 11, 2018

    Judge Stays Prohibited Transactions Dispute Pending Approval Of Settlement

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal judge on Dec. 7 signed an order granting joint stipulation to stay pretrial and trial deadlines for 60 days after the parties announced that they reached an agreement in principle to settle a former employee’s lawsuit 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 (Marlon H. Cryer, et al. v. Franklin Resources, Inc., et al., No. 16-4265, N.D. Calif.).

  • December 10, 2018

    Fund Operator Asks 10th Circuit To Affirm Ruling In ERISA Dispute

    DENVER — A fund operator accused of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act asked the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to affirm a summary judgment ruling in its favor in a redacted version of its appellee brief that was released Nov. 15, contending that the lower court properly found that it is not a fiduciary with respect to a portfolio fund (John Teets v. Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, No. 18-1019, 10th Cir.).

  • December 10, 2018

    Vanderbilt University Favors Adoption Of Magistrate’s Report In ERISA Dispute

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt University on Dec. 3 responded to plan participants’ objection to a magistrate’s report that recommended the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee strike their request for a jury in their lawsuit alleging that the university, the oversight committee and members of the committee mismanaged 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.).

  • December 10, 2018

    Judge Dismisses ERISA Claim From Wilderness Therapy Insurance Coverage Case

    BOSTON — A health insurance plan’s exclusion for custodial care unambiguously includes the wilderness therapy treatments at the heart of three plaintiffs’ ERISA suit, a federal judge in Massachusetts said Dec. 6 (David Cotton, et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts HMO Blue Inc., et al., No. 16-12176, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205869).

  • December 7, 2018

    Retirement Plan Adviser Says Suit Was Properly Dismissed As Being Duplicative

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge did not err in dismissing a lawsuit against New York University (NYU) School of Medicine and others because the judge properly found that the lawsuit was duplicative of an earlier filed lawsuit alleging that NYU breached its duty of prudence under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act in its administration and management of its retirement plan, the retirement plan adviser maintains in a Dec. 4 brief filed in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Dr. Alan Sacerdote, et al. v, New York University School of Medicine, et al., No. 18-1558, 2nd Cir.).