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).
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota federal magistrate judge on April 12 denied plaintiffs’ motions to file amended complaints in a two class actions challenging UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s practice of cross-plan offsetting after determining that amending the complaints would cause undue delay and result in prejudice to UnitedHealth (Louis J. Peterson D.C., et al. v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., et al., Nos. 14-2101, 15-3064, D. Minn., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63373).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its April 15 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in a dispute between a medical provider and United Healthcare Insurance Co. over an anti-assignment provision in a group health benefit plan (W.A. Griffin v. United Healthcare of Georgia Inc. et al., No. 18-1033, U.S. Sup.).
FORT WORTH, Texas — A motion to dismiss filed by defendants in a class action lawsuit alleging that American Airlines Inc. violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by using an outdated mortality table from 1984 to estimate the average lifespan of pension plan participants must be denied because ERISA requires the use of reasonable actuarial assumptions, the plaintiffs maintain in an April 4 opposition to the motion to dismiss filed in Texas federal court (Olga Martinez Torres, et al. v. American Airlines Inc., et al., No. 18-983, N.D. Texas).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on April 15 invited the solicitor general to file a brief expressing the views of the United States in a case seeking review of the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts an Arkansas law regulating drug reimbursement rates for pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) (Leslie Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, No. 18-540, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK — A district court did not err in finding that a disability claimant’s suit is barred by a disability policy’s three-year limitations provision because the limitations provision is not unreasonably short and the claimant did not file suit until more than seven years later, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 12 in affirming the lower court’s opinion (Susan Arkun v. Unum Group, et al., No. 17-3354, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 10843).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A disability claimant urges the U.S. Supreme Court in a March 29 petition for writ of certiorari to accept review of his disability suit to resolve the question of whether a plan fiduciary with discretionary authority should be given deference over compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s claims procedures and regulations (Timothy P. O’Leary v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 18-1266, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 1278).
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana federal judge on April 8 granted joint motions for preliminary approval of a $23.65 million class action settlement and to certify a class in a lawsuit filed by 401(k) plan participants who allege that the retirement plan breached its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by providing plan participants with an imprudent investment fund and by charging plan participants excessive administrative fees (Mary Bell, et al. v. Pension Committee of ATH Holding Company LLC, et al., No. 15-02062, S.D. Ind.).
ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 15 in a one-sentence order denied a motion to stay the mandate filed by UnitedHealth Group Inc. and its subsidiaries following a ruling by the appellate panel that the company’s practice of cross-plan offsetting is not authorized by its plan documents and is in tension with the requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Louis J. Peterson D.C., et al. v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., et al., No. 17-1744, 8th Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS — A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in terminating a claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits because substantial evidence supported the insurer’s finding that the claimant was not disabled from her own occupation as an attorney as a result of migraine headaches, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 4 (Amanda C. Foster v. Principal Life Insurance Co., No. 17-30997, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 9946).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an April 2 request for certiorari, two petitioners argue that a finding by a divided Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals of successor liability under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act conflicts with other circuits and runs afoul of the U.S. Supreme Court’s “repeated admonition that federal courts are not to create federal common law to rewrite federal statutes” (September Ends Co., et al. v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., No. 18-1265, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Participants in the Chevron Employee Savings Investment Plan on April 3 asked the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a writ resolving for all federal circuit appeals courts the proper pleading standard to apply in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act fiduciary breach actions (Charles E. White, Jr., et al. v. Chevron Corporation, et al., No. 18-1271, U.S. Sup.).