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Mealey's ERISA

  • May 7, 2019

    6th Circuit Denies En Banc Rehearing To Retirees Seeking Lifetime Health Benefits

    CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued a mandate on April 4 after denying Hoover Co. retirees’ petition for rehearing en banc of a divided panel ruling that the obligation to provide lifetime health care benefits promised in multiple collective bargaining agreements (CBA) ended when the last CBA ended (Joseph Zino, et al. v. Whirlpool Corp., et al., Nos. 17-3851, 17-3860, 6th Cir.).

  • May 6, 2019

    Chevron Corp. Waives Right To Respond To High Court Fiduciary Duty Petition

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Chevron Corp. on May 3 waived its right to respond to a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by participants in its Employee Savings Investment Plan asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether a plaintiff alleging breach of fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act can make a sufficient pleading with an allegation of a deficient decision-making process through inferences from facts known to the plaintiff (Charles E. White, Jr., et al. v. Chevron Corporation, et al., No. 18-1271, U.S. Sup.).

  • May 6, 2019

    Response Waived In Petition To U.S. High Court Over Successor Liability Finding

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) told the U.S. Supreme Court in an April 30 letter that it waives its right to respond to a petition for certiorari asking the proper standard for successor liability for unpaid Employee Retirement Income Security Act pension obligations (September Ends Co., et al. v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., No. 18-1265, U.S. Sup.).

  • May 6, 2019

    1st Circuit Reinstates Challenge To ACA Contraception Rules

    BOSTON — While the exact amount of Massachusetts’ alleged injury from rules granting expanded employers expanded exemptions to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACT) may not be known, it stands to reason that it is not zero and provides injury and standing, a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal panel held May 2 (Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 18-1514, 1st Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 13293).

  • May 6, 2019

    Insurance Classes Lay Out Proposed Remedies; Insurer Seeks Decertification

    SAN FRANCISCO — A judge’s conclusion that an insurer violated the standards of care in denying coverage for intensive residential health care and substance abuse treatments requires changes to its business practices and court instruction on the processing of claims, plaintiffs in two Employee Retirement Income Security Act class actions told a federal judge in California on May 3.  But in a motion seeking decertification of the class filed the same day, the insurer says the plaintiffs have not shown that common issues dominate the case (David and Natasha Wit, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, No. 14-02346, Gary Alexander, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, No. 14-5337, N.D. Calif.).

  • May 6, 2019

    Government Appeals Finding That ACA Association Rule Violates ERISA

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Labor on May 1 appealed to the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals a ruling invalidating a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) rule expanding the availability of association health plans that the court found did “violence” to the Employee Retirement Income Security (ERISA) definition of an employer (New York, et al. v. U.S. Department of Labor, et al., No. 19-5125, D.C. Cir.).

  • May 6, 2019

    Judge Adopts Magistrate’s Report, Denies Dismissal Of ERISA Suit Against Aon Hewitt

    OCALA, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on May 1 adopted a magistrate’s report that recommended denying Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting Inc.’s and Alight Solutions LLC’s motion to dismiss a not-for-profit corporation’s lawsuit alleging breach of fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Foundation Resolution Corp. v. Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting, Inc.,, et al., No: 18-458, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73143).

  • May 6, 2019

    Disability Insurer Says High Court’s Review Is Not Warranted

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should deny a disability claimant’s petition for writ of certiorari because the questions presented by the claimant were not litigated in the lower courts and, therefore, are not suitable for the high court’s review, the insurer argues in a May 2 response brief (Timothy P. O’Leary v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 18-1266, U.S. Sup.).

  • May 3, 2019

    Plan Participant Entitled To Only Pro-Rated Share Of Retirement Benefits, Panel Says

    NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 25 affirmed a district court’s ruling that a former employer is entitled to only a pro-rated share of his retirement benefits  according to the terms of a deferred compensation agreement between the employee and employer (Daniel Verdier v. Thalle Construction Co. Inc., No. 18-868, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 13150).

  • May 3, 2019

    Panel: UPenn Plan Participants May Pursue Fiduciary Breach Claims

    PHILADELPHIA — A divided Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 2 reversed a Pennsylvania federal judge’s dismissal of allegations that the University of Pennsylvania breached its fiduciary duty when it charged excessive investment fees to 403(b) plan participants but agreed that allegations that the university engaged in prohibited transactions are inadequately pleaded (Jennifer Sweda, et al. v. University of Pennsylvania, et al., No. 17-3244, 3rd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 13284).

  • May 3, 2019

    High Court Should Review Forum-Selection Clauses In ERISA Plans, Petitioner Says

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should grant a pension plan participant’s petition for writ of certiorari because the issue of whether private employee benefit plans can override the statutory venue choices that Congress made available to plan participants under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act is one of national importance and one that has arisen numerous times in lower federal courts, the plan participant argues in an April 23 petition to the high court (Jeffrey A. Robertson v. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, et al., No. 18-1341, U.S. Sup.).

  • May 2, 2019

    Judge Preliminarily Approves $3.5M Settlement With Brown University In ERISA Dispute

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Rhode Island federal judge on April 15 granted plaintiffs’ unopposed motion for preliminarily approval of a $3.5 million settlement in their class action alleging that Brown University breached its fiduciary duty in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act in its management of its retirement plans (Diane G. Short, et al. v. Brown University, No. 17-318, D. R.I.).

  • May 2, 2019

    3 Judges Recuse Themselves From Proton Beam Radiation Therapy ERISA Class Action

    MIAMI — A third federal judge in Florida on April 30 recused himself from a class action accusing United Health Care Insurance Co. (UHC) of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when refusing to reimburse patients for proton beam radiation therapy (PBRT) after another judge said in an April 29 order that it is “immoral and barbaric” to not reimburse prostate cancer patients for the treatment because it is not experimental and causes less collateral damage (Richard Cole, et al. v. United Health Care Insurance Co., No. 19-cv-21258, S.D. Fla.).

  • May 1, 2019

    IBM Employees Say No Basis For High Court Review Of Duty-Of-Prudence Claim

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — IBM employees on April 18 said there is no basis for the U.S. Supreme Court to grant certiorari review of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision that they plausibly asserted a duty-of-prudence claim against the fiduciaries of an IBM employee stock option plan (ESOP) under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Retirement Plans Committee of IBM, et al. v. Larry W. Jander, et al., No. 18-1165, U.S. Sup.).

  • May 1, 2019

    Respondent: ERISA Dispute Not Ripe For High Court Review

    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 (Intel Corporation Investment Policy Committee, et al., v. Christopher Sulyma, et al., No. 18-1116, U.S. Sup.).

  • May 1, 2019

    Panel: ERISA-Governed Life Insurance Policies Exclude Cause Of Death

    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).

  • April 30, 2019

    Judge Says More Facts Needed On Tribe’s ERISA Claims Against Blue Cross

    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).

  • April 30, 2019

    Panel Affirms: Surviving Spouse Benefits Request Is Time-Barred

    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).

  • April 30, 2019

    Disability, Life Insurance Plan Not Exempt From ERISA, Federal Judge Says

    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).

  • April 30, 2019

    Judge Approves $9M Settlement For Prudential’s Failure To Make Lump Sum Payments

    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).

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