Mealey's ERISA

  • October 20, 2020

    Rehearing Sought After 6th Circuit OKs Pension Plan Termination

    CINCINNATI — Pension plan participants filed a petition on Oct. 15 seeking a rehearing or rehearing en banc after a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 1 affirmed a district court’s ruling that Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) properly terminated a salaried pension plan because a judicial adjudication under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act was not required prior to the termination of the plan and because the retirees failed to show that they have a property interest in their vested but unfunded pension benefits (Dennis Black, et al. v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., No. 19-1419, 6th Cir.).

  • October 20, 2020

    Rehearing Sought After 6th Circuit OKs Pension Plan Termination

    CINCINNATI — Pension plan participants filed a petition on Oct. 15 seeking a rehearing or rehearing en banc after a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 1 affirmed a district court’s ruling that Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) properly terminated a salaried pension plan because a judicial adjudication under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act was not required prior to the termination of the plan and because the retirees failed to show that they have a property interest in their vested but unfunded pension benefits (Dennis Black, et al. v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., No. 19-1419, 6th Cir.).

  • October 20, 2020

    Settlement Reached In ERISA Church-Plan Exemption Case

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. — On Oct. 19, pursuant to a stipulation of dismissal with prejudice, a federal judge in Indiana dismissed pension plan participants’ class action alleging that the plan was improperly maintained as a “church plan” exempt from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Lorraine Cappello, et al. v. Franciscan Alliance, Inc., et al., No. 16-290, N.D. Ind.).

  • October 19, 2020

    High Court Calls For View Of Federal Government In Pension Plan Reformation Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 19 invited the acting solicitor general to weigh in on whether the court should grant review of a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a lower court had the authority to reform an ERISA-governed retirement plan and then enforce that newly reformed plan with money damages for class action plaintiffs (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, et al. v. Timothy D. Laurent, et al., No. 20-28, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 16, 2020

    Majority Says Dialysis Provider Was Properly Assigned Rights To Bring ERISA Claim

    CINCINNATI — The majority of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 14 reversed a district court’s ruling that a health insurance administrator’s decision to make all dialysis companies out-of-network providers does not violate the Medicare Secondary Payor Act (MSPA) and found that the provider’s assignment of rights form clearly conferred a right on the provider to bring a claim for unpaid benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (DaVita Inc., et al. v. Marietta Memorial Hospital Employee Health Benefit Plan, et al., No. 19-4039, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 32398).

  • October 16, 2020

    Panel Says Plan Abused Its Discretion In Calculating NFL Player’s Disability Award

    ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 15 determined that a district court erred in granting a disability plan’s motion for judgment on the administrative record because the plan abused its discretion in failing to consider relevant evidence and in failing to consider the cumulative effects of the former National Football League (NFL) player’s ailments (Darren Mickell v. Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan, No. 19-10651, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 32516).

  • October 15, 2020

    CalSavers, Treasurer Tell 9th Circuit There Is No ERISA Preemption

    SAN FRANCISCO — The California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Trust Act (Secure Choice Act) does not impermissibly reference the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and the program created by the act, the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program (CalSavers), is not an employee pension benefit plan defined by ERISA, CalSavers and the California state treasurer argue in an Oct. 13 appellee brief (Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, et al. v. California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program, et al., No. 20-15591, 9th Cir.).

  • October 15, 2020

    Investment Manager Says 401(k) Class Action Fails To Show Any Fiduciary Breach

    BOSTON — A class action lawsuit filed in Massachusetts federal court alleging that an employer and an investment manager breached their fiduciary duties and engaged in prohibited transactions while sponsoring a 401(k) employee pension benefit plan should be dismissed in its entirety because the plaintiffs fail to provide any facts in support of their claims, the investment manager maintains in its Oct. 9 reply in support of its motion to dismiss (David Turner, et al. v. Schneider Electric Holdings Inc., et al., No. 20-11006, D. Mass.).

  • October 14, 2020

    Plaintiffs In 401(k) Class Action Seek Approval Of $40M Class Settlement

    ATLANTA — Plaintiffs who asserted breach of fiduciary duty class claims against their company and 401(k) plan investment manager filed an unopposed motion for preliminary approval on Oct. 12, seeking a Georgia federal’s court’s approval of an almost $40 million settlement between the parties (Ronda A. Pledger, et al. v. Reliance Trust Co., et al., No. 1:15-cv-04444, N.D. Ga.).

  • October 13, 2020

    Lawsuit Over Plan Option Costs, Investors, Dismissed In California

    SAN FRANCISCO — Allegations by participants in a 401(k) retirement plan that their former employer breached the fiduciary duties of loyalty and prudence were dismissed without prejudice on Oct. 5 by a federal judge in California, who agreed with defendants in the case that there is no meaningful way to compare passively managed funds with actively managed funds (Tim Davis, et al. v. SalesForce.com Inc., et al., No. 20-1753, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184283).

  • October 13, 2020

    Health Plan Administrators Did Not Act In Fiduciary Capacity In Amending Plan

    LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Oct. 8 dismissed a lawsuit filed by cinematographers against the plan administrators of a health plan for film and television workers because the plan administrators did not act in a fiduciary capacity when amending the terms of the health care plan to provide premium waivers and other subsidies to some plan participants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown of the entertainment industry (Greg Endries, et al. v. Board of Directors of the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan, et al., No. 20-6347, C.D. Calif.).

  • October 13, 2020

    5th Circuit Won’t Rehear ERISA Claims Stemming From Phillips 66 Spinoff

    NEW ORLEANS — A May ruling affirming the dismissal of allegations that an ERISA-governed plan breached its fiduciary duties of prudence and diversification will stand, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals announced Oct. 8, denying a petition for rehearing in the case (Jeffery Schweitzer, et al. v. The Investment Committee of the Phillips 66 Savings Plan, et al., No. 18-20379, 5th Cir.).

  • October 12, 2020

    Federal Judge Dismisses Home Health Aides’ ERISA Case For Lack Of Standing

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Relying on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, a New York federal judge on Oct. 9 dismissed a lawsuit brought by home health aides against their employers and a captive reinsurer because they lack standing under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to challenge the management of their defined-benefit retirement plan (Ynes M. Gonzalez de Fuente, et al. v. Preferred Home Care of New York LLC, et al., No. 18-6749, E.D. N.Y.).

  • October 12, 2020

    ERISA Dispute Over Spinoff Company Dismissed In California

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Oct. 7 found that actions relating to the merger and restructuring of the Dow and Dupont corporations “were nonfiduciary in nature,” compelling dismissal of allegations of a breach under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Krishnan R. Thondukolam, et al. v. Corteva Inc., et al., No. 19-3857, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186225).

  • October 12, 2020

    Class Certified In ERISA Suit Accusing Verizon Of Failing To Monitor Option

    NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Sept. 29 certified a class of participants in and beneficiaries of an individual account defined-contribution plan for Verizon Communications Inc. management employees who allege breach of fiduciary duty for failure to properly monitor and take action regarding a poorly performing investment option (Melina N. Jacobs, et al. v. Verizon Communications, Inc., et al., No.1 6-1082, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179421).

  • October 12, 2020

    ERISA Church Plan Case Settlement Of More Than $26M Preliminarily Approved

    EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — A federal judge in Illinois on Oct. 7 granted preliminary approval of a more than $26 million class settlement reached in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act church plan exemption case involving two defined-benefit plans offered by a nonprofit health care corporation (Sheilar Smith, et al. v. OSF Healthcare System, et al., No. 16-467, S.D. Ill.).

  • October 12, 2020

    Class Settlement Preliminarily Approved In Cornell Retirement Plan Dispute

    NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York in an order filed Oct. 7 granted preliminary approval to a class settlement that calls for Cornell University and the fiduciaries of two its retirement plans to reimburse plan participants $225,000 for breaching their duties of loyalty and prudence under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Casey Cunningham, et al. v. Cornell University, et al., No. 16-6525, S.D. N.Y.).

  • October 12, 2020

    Department Of Labor Says Court Erred In Finding Health Benefits Properly Denied

    BOSTON — In an Oct. 7 amicus curiae brief, the U.S. Department of Labor contends that a district court erred in finding that health insurance coverage is excluded for nonrestorative speech therapy because the appellant, a 5-year-old who suffers from autism spectrum disorder, and his parents are authorized to bring a claim for the denied benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (N.R., et al. v. Raytheon Co., et al., No. 20-1639, 1st Cir.).

  • October 12, 2020

    Final Approval Of $9M Settlement In 401(k) Excessive Fee Class Action Granted

    NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Oct. 7 granted final approval of a $9 million settlement of a class action lawsuit over allegedly excessive fees charged to participants in JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A.’s 401(k) plan and awarded almost $3 million in attorney fees to class counsel (Terre Beach, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association, et al., No. 17-563, S.D. N.Y.).

  • October 09, 2020

    Former Employee Barred From Relitigating Claim Related To Release In Severance Plan

    CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 5 affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a former employee’s suit challenging a general release in a severance plan because the employee was precluded from relitigating the issue, which was considered in a prior suit filed by the employee (Martha Castellon-Vogel v. International Paper Co., No. 20-3319, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 31782).