Mealey's ERISA

  • November 30, 2021

    Preliminary Approval Of $1.85M Class Settlement Sought In ERISA Excessive Fee Suit

    MIAMI — Defined contribution plan participants on Nov. 23 moved for preliminary approval of a class action settlement to resolve their putative class fiduciary duty lawsuit in exchange for a $1.85 million cash payment and other relief from the University of Miami; in a contemporaneous first amended complaint, the participants expanded the number of retirement plans at issue to five.

  • November 30, 2021

    ERISA Exclusion Bars Professional Liability Coverage For DOL Suit, Panel Affirms

    CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 24 affirmed a lower federal court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a professional liability insurer, finding that the policy’s Employee Retirement Income Security Act exclusion bars coverage for an underlying lawsuit brought against the insureds by the former U.S. secretary of Labor.

  • November 29, 2021

    In Appeal Of Denied Benefits, Panel Says Merits Challenge Forfeited

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal on Nov. 23 rejected efforts by an appellant to obtain coverage under his Employee Retirement Income Security Act-governed benefits plan for mental health treatment sought by a dependent, leaving intact findings by a District of Columbia federal judge that the denial of benefits was supported by substantial evidence.

  • November 24, 2021

    Judge Dismisses 401(k) ERISA Fiduciary Breach Suit With Leave To Amend

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — Participants in a LinkedIn Corp. 401(k) plan did not adequately allege Article III standing and stated a claim for breach of fiduciary duty only as to the selection and retention of active suite rather than index suite target date funds, a California federal judge ruled Nov. 16 after considering numerous decisions from other courts in the district, dismissing the class complaint with leave to amend.

  • November 24, 2021

    Judge Further Trims Insurer’s Fraudulent Billing Claims Against Laboratories

    BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — An insurer’s claims that laboratories fraudulently billed it are subject to the presumption of laches but not barred by the doctrine, but it states a claim against only two of the six defendants, a federal judge in Connecticut said Nov. 22 in partially granting a motion to dismiss.

  • November 23, 2021

    High Court Petitioners:  4th Circuit 401(k) Diversification Ruling Creates Split

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Nov. 22 supplemental brief supporting their petition seeking U.S. Supreme Court review of a dispute over the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s diversification requirement, Gannett Co., Inc. and The Gannett Benefit Plans Committee contest the argument in an amicus curiae brief filed by the U.S. government that they misread the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling.

  • November 23, 2021

    Judge:  Fiduciary Claims Impermissibly Seek Damages, ERISA Preempts State Claim

    ST. LOUIS — Plaintiffs’ Employee Retirement Income Security Act fiduciary claims impermissibly seek damages, and the statute preempts state law parity act claims in a residential treatment case against a self-funded plan, a federal judge in Missouri said Nov. 19 in dismissing claims.

  • November 23, 2021

    Citing Hughes, NYU Seeks High Court’s Review Of 2nd Circuit’s ERISA Prudence Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Arguing that the relevant share-class allegations are “nearly identical” to those in a case the U.S. Supreme Court has already agreed to review — Hughes v. Northwestern University — New York University (NYU) on Nov. 12 filed a certiorari petition regarding a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that retirement plan participants stated a claim of imprudence against it under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • November 22, 2021

    U.S. High Court Denies Certiorari Petition Regarding AD&D ‘Crime’ Benefits Denial

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 22 denied a beneficiary’s 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 life and accident plan’s denial of benefits under a “crime” exclusion on the basis that the insured was speeding and passing improperly.

  • November 19, 2021

    8th Circuit On Remand: ERISA Doesn’t, Part D Partly Does Preempt N.D. PBM Law

    ST. LOUIS — On remand following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 17 reversed its prior holding that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts two sections of a North Dakota law regulating pharmaceutical benefit manager (PBM) practices; the Eighth Circuit also concluded that Medicare Part D preempts more provisions than the trial court ruled it did.

  • November 18, 2021

    DOL’s Tobacco Wellness Claims Proceed; Out-Of-Network ERISA Payment Claims Fail

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The secretary of Labor lacks authority to challenge out-of-network reimbursement methodology under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because there are no alleged plan losses, but some of the claims stemming from a self-insured wellness plan’s failure to provide tobacco users an alternative means of meeting a health-related reward may proceed, a federal judge in Ohio said Nov. 17 in a mixed ruling on motions to dismiss.

  • 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.

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