SAN FRANCISCO — The University of Southern California (USC) on Aug. 7 asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reconsider its July 24 decision that upheld a California federal judge’s denial of its motion to compel arbitration in a lawsuit alleging that it charged excessive fees for its 403(b) retirement plan and other breaches of fiduciary duty (Allen L. Munro, et al. v. University of Southern California, et al., No. 17-55550, 9th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Participants in a pension plan are not permitted to seek recovery for an increase in the value of plan assets that occurred after the plan was terminated, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Aug. 21 in reversing a district court’s decision in favor of the participants (K. Wendell Lewis, et. al., v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., No. 17-5068, D.C. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 23546).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A 401(k) plan sponsor is permitted to amend its plan to include a student loan repayment benefit, the Internal Revenue Service stated in a private letter ruling released Aug. 17 after determining that the proposed student loan repayment program would not violate the “contingent benefit” prohibition of the Income Tax Regulations.
ATLANTA — Regardless of the standard applying in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Section 1557 cases, the law at the very least requires evidence of discrimination an African-American dermatologist cannot produce in support of her allegation that a company selectively enforces its anti-assignment provision against women and minorities, a panel of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Aug. 20 (W.A. Griffin v. Verizon Communications Inc., et al., No. 17-14761, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 23146).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A Connecticut federal judge on Aug. 20 granted judgment in favor of a retirement fund manager three days after dismissing with prejudice a class action complaint alleging that it violated various sections of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Darlene Dezelan v. Voya Retirement Insurance and Annuity Company, No. 16-01251, D. Conn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139377).
BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal judge on Aug. 16 granted a registered broker-dealer’s motion to remand a lawsuit alleging that it violated its internal policies as to the Fiduciary Rule by hosting incentivized sales contests, sending the lawsuit back to the Enforcement Section of the Massachusetts Securities Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth (Enforcement Section of the Massachusetts Securities Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth v. Scottrade, Inc., No. 18-10508, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138813).
NEW YORK — In an Aug. 15 amicus curiae brief filed on behalf of the U.S. secretary of Labor, the secretary asserts that the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should find that a New York federal judge erred in granting a motion by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) for summary judgment on the pleadings in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action seeking a recalculation of benefits because ERISA allows the equitable relief sought by the plaintiffs (Timothy D. Laurent, et al. v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, et al., No. 18-487, 2nd Cir.).
CINCINNATI — Case law, including M & G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett and the “deluge of cases” decided since, stipulates that a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between General Electric Co. (GE) and multiple unions did not vest lifetime retirement health care benefits, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 16 (IUE-CWA, et al. v. General Electric Co., No. 17-3885, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 22813).
NEW YORK — Under the terms of a proposed class action settlement in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act suit filed against Deutsche Bank Americas Holding Corp. and others for alleged violations in overseeing a 401(k) plan, Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay a gross settlement amount of $21.9 million into a common fund for the benefit of settlement class members, according to the plaintiffs’ Aug. 14 motion for preliminary approval of the settlement (Ramon Moreno, et al. v. Deutsche Bank Americas Holding Corp., et al., No. 15-cv-09936-LGS, S.D. N.Y.).
BALTIMORE — A federal judge in Maryland on Aug. 15 stayed a suit brought by plaintiffs accusing The Johns Hopkins University of allegedly mishandling employment retirement plans pending the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision as to whether to review a ruling dismissing some of the plaintiffs’ claims (Margaret E. Kelly, et al. v. The Johns Hopkins University, No. 16-2835, D. Md.).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on Aug. 13 denied cross-motions for summary judgment in a lawsuit seeking accidental death benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act following a woman’s overdose and remanded to the plan administrator for further review, finding that the administrative process was flawed and violated ERISA’s requirement for a full and fair review (Kevin C. McCusker v. Unum Life Insurance Co. of America, et al., No. 17-1214, E.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136165).
CINCINNATI — No coverage is owed to a health plan participant for air transport services because the participant did not receive precertification for the transport and did not prove that the transport was an emergency that was exempt from the precertification process, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Aug. 14 in affirming a district court’s ruling in favor of the plan (Jason Springer v. Cleveland Clinic Employee Health Plan Total Care, No. 17-4181, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 22478).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California federal judge on Aug. 10 remanded a class lawsuit accusing a health insurer of wrongfully disclosing insureds' HIV-positive status, ruling that the state law claims are not preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (D.L. v. Aetna Inc., et al., No. 18-893, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136682).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A petitioner on Aug. 2 asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ finding that an amendment to a pension plan's calculation of retirement income credits does not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act's anti-cutback rule, arguing that the lower court’s ruling puts ERISA and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act at stake (James P. Teufel v. The Northern Trust Co., et al., No. 18-163, U.S. Sup.)
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 13 affirmed a district court’s ruling in favor of a disability claimant after determining that the claimant was entitled to short-term disability benefits under his company’s disability plan because the record does not contain substantial evidence showing that the claimant was capable of performing the duties of his job (Kevin McMillan v. AT&T Umbrella Benefit Plan No. 1, No. 17-5111, 10th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 22366).
SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on Aug. 9 narrowed the claims in a class complaint filed by a teenager seeking reimbursement for an outdoor mental health treatment program, dismissing with prejudice a claim that the denial of reimbursement was improper under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and claims seeking to enforce the plan and for equitable remedies, to the extent that they relied on a violation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (A.Z., et al. v. Regence Blueshield, et al., No. 17-1292, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134669).
HOUSTON — A Texas federal judge on Aug. 7 concluded that an out-of-network hospital failed to prove during an eight-day bench trial that Cigna Healthcare abused its discretion in adjusting health care claims assigned by patients to the hospital (North Cypress Medical Center Operating Company, et al. v. Cigna Healthcare, et al., No. 4:09-cv-2556, S.D. Texas; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132436).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Aug. 6 dismissed a lawsuit alleging breaches of fiduciary and loyalty duties against SunEdison Inc.’s board of directors and investment committee by former employees who participated in the company’s defined-contribution retirement savings plan (In Re: SunEdison Inc. ERISA Litigation, Nos. 16-2742 and 16-2744, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131866).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A former employee 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 argues in an Aug. 8 motion for partial summary judgment that judgment should be entered in his favor on the prohibited transactions claims because he met his burden of proving that the defendants engaged in prohibited transactions (Marlon H. Cryer, et al. v. Franklin Resources, Inc., et al., No. 16-4265, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should grant review of a disability claimant’s petition for writ of certiorari in a dispute over the offsetting of a claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits to account for Social Security disability income (SSDI) benefits received on behalf of the claimant’s dependents because the plan administrators did not apply the language of the LTD plan as written, the claimant says in a June 22 reply brief (Susan Rene Jones v. Merck Sharpe & Dohme Corp., et al., No. 17-1478, U.S. Sup.).