Mealey's ERISA

  • 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.

  • November 02, 2021

    PBGC Waives Certiorari Petition Response In Pension Plan Termination Row

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) on Oct. 28 waived its right to respond to a petition for certiorari seeking U.S. Supreme Court review of a ruling that a pension plan’s termination did not violate due process; the same day, a U.S. representative filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the petitioners, joined by 16 members of Congress.

  • November 01, 2021

    TIAA-CREF Settlement Docs Allowed In ERISA Class Suit Over Yale Plan

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Documents outlining settlements that the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) of the State of New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission reached with TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services LLC may be filed as supplemental evidence in a class suit by participants in a Yale a 403(b) retirement plan who allege excessive fees, a Connecticut federal judge ruled Oct. 28.

  • October 29, 2021

    Amici Support University, Urging High Court To Affirm That ERISA Fees Claims Fail

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In amicus curiae briefs filed Oct. 27 and 28 before the U.S. Supreme Court, more than two dozen entities support Northwestern University’s Oct. 21 respondent brief arguing 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.”

  • October 27, 2021

    5th Circuit Asked To Reconsider Review Standard For ERISA Benefit Denials

    NEW ORLEANS — In an Oct. 6 petition for rehearing en banc regarding a panel decision that upheld a health plan benefit denial, an appellee asks the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reevaluate its “substantial evidence” standard for reviewing such denials under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, noting a concurring opinion that cited U.S. Supreme Court decisions in questioning the standard.

  • October 27, 2021

    Panel Affirms AD&D Denial That Used ‘Substantial Contribution’ Standard

    PASADENA, Calif. — A California federal judge did not err in applying the “substantial contribution” standard in a dispute over group accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) benefits governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in an Oct. 19 unpublished memorandum disposition upholding the denial.

  • October 27, 2021

    Judge Won’t Vacate, Stay Pension Fees Case Decided After Hughes Grant

    GREEN BAY, Wis. — Neither the U.S. Supreme Court’s July grant of certiorari in Hughes v. Northwestern University “nor this Court’s decision to stay the six ERISA cases pending a decision in Hughes are intervening changes in controlling law,” a Wisconsin federal judge ruled Oct. 22, denying a motion to vacate, stay and alter or amend judgement in a dismissed suit over pension plan fees and funds.

  • October 25, 2021

    High Court Review Of AD&D Benefits Denial For ‘Crime’ Of Speeding Sought

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The beneficiary of an accidental death and disability policy is seeking U.S. Supreme Court review of 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, arguing in an Oct. 12 petition for certiorari that the exclusion does not adequately put the insured on notice.

  • October 22, 2021

    Northwestern Defends Plan, Says Prudence Claims Fail In High Court Brief

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in Illinois did not err in rejecting allegations that the Northwestern University 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,” the university maintains in an Oct. 21 respondent brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • October 21, 2021

    Competing Motions For Summary Judgment Filed In ERISA Preemption Row

    OKLAHOMA CITY — In an Oct. 8 reply brief in support of its September motion for summary judgment, a lobbying group argues that an Oklahoma law intended to regulate pharmaceutical benefit managers (PBMs) promotes “local interests at the expense of national objectives,” in violation of the express preemption provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, as well as Medicare Part D.

  • October 21, 2021

    Class Suit Filed Against TIAA Alleges Scheme, ERISA Fiduciary Violations

    NEW YORK — Three retirement plan participants who opened TIAA Portfolio Advisor accounts between 2013 and 2018 filed a putative class suit in a New York federal court on Oct. 11, claiming violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and alleging “dishonest actions to benefit itself at participants’ expense.”

  • October 21, 2021

    Judge Awards Class Counsel A 3rd Of Columbia’s $13M ERISA Funds, Fees Settlement

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Oct. 13 granted final approval to a $13 million class action settlement between Columbia University trustees and participants in two 403(b) plans over allegations that the trustees breached the fiduciary duty of prudence by incurring excessive administrative fees and by selecting and retaining underperforming investment options; on Oct. 18, the judge granted an award of $4,333,333.33 for attorney fees from the settlement fund.

  • October 21, 2021

    ‘Reasonable’ Element Of ERISA Estoppel Claim Not Met, 5th Circuit Affirms

    NEW ORLEANS — An estoppel claim under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act fails because it did not create a genuine dispute of material fact that it was reasonable to rely on an employer’s representations and paycheck deductions rather than the unambiguous language of a group supplemental life insurance plan, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 19, upholding a Texas federal court’s grant of summary judgment in the employer’s favor.

  • October 20, 2021

    Retirement Funding Dispute Class Settlement Granted Preliminary OK On 3rd Try

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Following two denials, a California federal judge on Oct. 19 granted preliminary approval to a settlement agreement in a long-running class suit over funding and management of a retirement plan sponsored by Dignity Health, ruling that previous concerns about intraclass conflict were addressed by subclass certification.

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