Mealey's ERISA

  • October 15, 2021

    Preliminary Approval Of Class Settlement Denied In ERISA Suit Over Surgery

    SAN FRANCISCO — Citing “such a large fee for the attorneys, little benefit to the class members, and substantial downsides to the class,” a California federal judge on Oct. 12 denied preliminary approval to a class settlement proposal in a suit challenging a health plan’s denial of coverage for a specialized form of liposuction to treat lipedema.

  • October 15, 2021

    Aon Prevails In 401(k) Suit; Class Settlement With Lowe’s Gets Final Approval

    STATESVILLE, N.C. — Following a bench trial in a class action challenging a retirement plan adviser’s actions including the move of more than $1 billion in assets to a growth fund, a federal judge in North Carolina on Oct. 12 ruled that Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting Inc. did not breach its fiduciary duty and ordered each party to bear its own costs and attorney fees with respect to those claims.

  • October 12, 2021

    2 Motions To Dismiss Denied In Class Suit Over ERISA Plan Costs, Fees

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — An employee who brought class claims accusing her former employer and the 401(k) plan committee of breaching the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when they failed to keep costs in check and negotiate lower fees as the plan grew may proceed with her case as the defendants failed to show a lack of subject matter jurisdiction or failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, a federal judge in Ohio ruled Sept. 16 in denying motions to dismiss.

  • October 11, 2021

    2 Claims Survive Summary Judgment In Class Loan Procedure Suit Under ERISA

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Sept. 30 granted summary judgment in favor of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) on one claim of nonfiduciary liability for fiduciary breach but allowed two others to proceed in a class suit filed by a pension plan participant seeking equitable relief for plan loan procedures that allegedly violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • October 11, 2021

    Federal Government Opposes Bill Of Costs After Losing ERISA Ruling In ESOP Suit

    HONOLULU, Hawaii — The U.S. secretary of labor on Oct. 8 filed an objection to a bill of costs filed by the defendants in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act lawsuit over an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) after a federal judge in Hawaii determined that evidence showed that the $40 million price paid by the ESOP to the former owners of an engineering firm “did not exceed the fair market value of the Company” on the date of the sale, despite a valuation of the company two weeks later that was more than $33 million lower.

  • October 11, 2021

    ERISA Insurer Appeals Ruling Finding Residential Treatment Coverage Denial Arbitrary

    SALT LAKE CITY — An insurer on Sept. 22 filed an amended notice appealing a Utah federal judge’s opinion finding that the insurer’s improper and inconsistent grounds for denying coverage for residential treatments were arbitrary and entitled the plaintiffs to partial summary judgment on their Employee Retirement Income Security Act claim.

  • October 09, 2021

    Federal Judge Permits Partial Turnover Of 401(k) To Satisfy Terrorism Judgment

    BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on Sept. 30 partially granted a motion for turnover of a 401(k) account to satisfy a Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (TRIA) judgment, finding that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s anti-alienation provision does not stand in the way of access to assets the plan participant has a right to receive.

  • October 08, 2021

    Allstate Loses Bid To Dismiss ERISA Fees, Funds Claims In Suit Over 401(k) Plan

    CHICAGO — Participants in a defined contribution-retirement plan who filed a putative class suit alleging underperforming funds and excessive fees have standing and have adequately pleaded claims, including breach of the fiduciary duty of prudence, a federal judge in Illinois ruled Sept. 28, denying a motion to dismiss that raised issues including failure to plead exhaustion of administrative remedies.

  • October 07, 2021

    U.S. Secretary Of Labor Says Disability Insurer Failed To Issue Benefit Determination

    NEW YORK — A district court erred in dismissing a disability claimant’s suit alleging that a disability insurer failed to exhaust all administrative remedies in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the insurer’s decision to remand a claim to its claim department for reconsideration does not constitute a “benefit determination on review,” the U.S. Secretary of Labor says in an Oct. 5 amicus curiae brief filed in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in support of the claimant’s appeal.

  • October 07, 2021

    Judge Denies Attorney Fees In 401(k) Valuation Suit, Ruling Decision ‘Close Call’

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A federal judge in Rhode Island on Oct. 5 denied a motion for attorney fees and costs by a 401(k) plan, its administrator and trustees, saying in a text order that the suit over a special valuation date (SVD) implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic “was brought and litigated in good faith, and its ultimate resolution was a close call.”

  • October 06, 2021

    5th Circuit Panel Reverses, Remands Ruling On Any-Occupation Benefits

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 5 reversed a district court’s ruling that a disability insurer waived its right to contest an award of disability benefits under the plan’s any-occupation standard because the insurer’s determination that the claimant’s disability was subject to a plan limitation made an analysis of whether any-occupation benefits were owed unnecessary.

  • October 05, 2021

    Judge: Dispute Remains Over Relief In Remanded Pension Plan Reformation Case

    NEW YORK — On remand of a long-running class action over reformation of a PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) pension plan, a federal judge in New York on Sept. 30 granted summary judgment in plan participants’ favor on liability but denied their requested relief as to the projection rate for whipsaw calculations, concluding that a genuine dispute remains over that issue; the judge also denied PwC’s motion to decertify the class.

  • October 04, 2021

    High Court Denies Review Of Doctor’s Reimbursement Claims Against Employers, Insurer

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 4 declined to review an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that an out-of-network doctor who sought payments as an in-network provider from two health plans via assignment of benefits by her patients failed to state a claim under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • October 04, 2021

    U.S. High Court Denies Insurance Agents’ ERISA Classification Petition

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 4 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari by insurance agents who argued that the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred in dismissing their second appeal for lack of jurisdiction in a case in which they alleged misclassification under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • October 04, 2021

    NFL Player’s ERISA Claims Are Time-Barred, 2nd Circuit Says In Affirming Dismissal

    NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 1 affirmed a trial court’s ruling that a National Football League (NFL) player’s claims alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act are time-barred because the player knew in 2000, the year he applied for disability benefits, that the plan failed to provide him with a copy of the summary plan description (SPD).

  • October 04, 2021

    Class May File Cert Petition Challenging ERISA Fiduciary Ruling Under Seal

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 4 said a class can file under seal a petition for a writ of certiorari and associated supplemental appendix challenging a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruling affirming that Anthem and Express Scripts Inc. (ESI) were not acting as fiduciaries under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when they set prescription drug prices.

  • October 04, 2021

    High Court Denies Review Of Pension Plan Dissolution Lawsuit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 4 let stand an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that held that a district court properly entered summary judgment for the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. (PBGC) because the owner of a dissolved company and his related companies were liable for failing to inform the PBGC of the dissolution of the company and the subsequent termination of the dissolved company’s pension plan.

  • October 04, 2021

    High Court Denies Review Of Deference Due PBGC Benefits Rulings

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 4 denied review of a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruling that held that deference under Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. applies to all Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) interpretations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, including decisions upholding final benefits determinations that the PBGC makes as trustee of a pension plan.

  • October 04, 2021

    2nd Circuit Affirms ERISA Plan Is Not ‘Top Hat,’ Vacates Award For Recalculation

    NEW YORK — In a ruling that it said largely agreed with former employees who asserted claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act against a defunct corporation and its owner in regard to a deferred compensation plan, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 29 issued an opinion partly affirming but mostly vacating the ruling of a federal judge in Vermont and remanding the suit for further proceedings.

  • October 04, 2021

    Retirees May File Certiorari Petition Against PBGC Under Seal

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 4 granted retirees’ motion to file a petition for a writ of certiorari under seal with redacted copies for the public record in a case seeking review of a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that held that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) did not violate due process in terminating a pension plan.