WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a March 27 appellee brief, Georgetown University argues that the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals need not reach the merits of a District of Columbia federal judge’s dismissal of allegations that the university made imprudent investments because notice of an appeal in the case was untimely (Darrell Wilcox, et al. v. Georgetown University, et al., No. 19-7065, D.C. Cir.).
NEW YORK — In a brief filed March 30 in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, New York University (NYU) asserts that a federal judge in New York correctly rejected allegations that the school made imprudent investments in a 403(b) employee benefit plan and did not err in denying plan participants a jury trial (Dr. Alan Sacerdote, et al. v. New York University, No. 18-2707, 2nd Cir.).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on March 30 adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation that trustees of Columbia University be denied summary judgment on allegations that they breached the fiduciary duty of prudence by incurring excessive administrative fees and by selecting and retaining underperforming investment options because genuine issues of fact exist on the claims (Chandra Cates, et al. v. Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, No. 16-6524, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55409).
CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 31 vacated a district court’s judgment in favor of a disability claimant after determining that further fact-finding is necessary to determine whether the claimant was eligible for long-term disability (LTD) benefits under the terms of the plan (Cheryl L. Wallace v. Oakwood Healthcare Inc., et al., No. 18-2316, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 10055).
CINCINNATI — A disability plan administrator’s termination of long-term disability (LTD) benefits was arbitrary and capricious because the plan administrator failed to consider all objective evidence regarding the claimant’s disabling conditions, the majority of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 30 in reversing a district court’s ruling (Teresa Outward v. Eaton Corporation Disability Plan for U.S. Employees, et al., No. 19-3365, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 10098).
BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal judge on March 27 determined that retirement plan defendants are liable for breaching the duty of prudence by failing to monitor mutual fund investments and by failing to monitor record keeping expenses; however, the judge said the defendants are not liable for breaching the duty of prudence by failing to investigate alternatives to the mutual fund investments (Kevin Moitoso, et al. v. FMR LLC, et al., No. 18-12122, D. Mass., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53656).
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 27 reversed and remanded a pension plan participant’s claim for pension benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, disagreeing with the district court’s finding that the participant failed to state a plausible claim for benefits under ERISA (Angela Henderson Williamson v. Travelport LP, Galileo & Worldspan U.S. Legacy Pension Plan, No. 18-10449, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 9620).
RICHMOND, Va. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 26 affirmed a district court’s ruling on a breach of fiduciary duty claim after determining that the plaintiff failed to prove that her former employer made any material misrepresentations about her access to disability and health insurance benefits included as part of her severance package (Michele Damiano v. Institute for In Vitro Sciences et al., No. 18-2382, 4th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 9468).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 30 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by the University of Pennsylvania seeking review of a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision in a lawsuit accusing it of acting imprudently while administering a 403(b) defined contribution, individual account employee pension benefit plan (University of Pennsylvania, et al. v. Jennifer Sweda, et al., No. 19-784, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK — A medical billing expert is qualified to testify, and medical providers’ benefits recovery and injunctive relief claims largely survive in a case alleging that an insurer ignored plan language and instead issued automatic denials of coverage for office-based practices’ facility fees, a federal judge in New York said March 26 (The Medical Society of the State of New York, et al. v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., et al., No. 16-5265, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53262).
ST. LOUIS — A trial court properly found that Mercy Health’s employee pension plan is a church plan and exempt from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 27 in finding that the plaintiffs’ ERISA claims fail (Sally Sanzone, et al. v. Mercy Health, et al., No. 18-3574, 8th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 9537).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government on March 26 moved to participate in oral arguments in a dispute over an Arkansas law that regulates the administration of prescription drug benefits; one day earlier, the respondent in the case argued that the government’s recent amicus curiae brief incorrectly claims that the statute “relates to” plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Leslie Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, No. 18-540, U.S. Sup.).
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on March 23 dismissed a complaint seeking a declaration that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts a New Jersey out-of-network consumer protection law after determining that a nonprofit corporation representing New Jersey spine surgeons does not have standing to challenge the law (New Jersey Spine Society Inc. v. Marlene Caride, et al., No. 18-17448, D. N.J.).
CHICAGO — Allegations that Northwestern University and others breached their fiduciary duty by offering a CREF Stock Account and allowing TIAA-CREF to serve as recordkeeper for various TIAA-CREF funds were properly dismissed by an Illinois federal judge, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 25 (Laura L. Divane, et al. v. Northwestern University, et al., No. 18-2569, 7th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 9277).
BOSTON — A woman’s Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action seeking disgorgement and an injunction barring an insurer from denying proton beam therapy claims simply repackages a denial of benefits claim and must be dismissed without prejudice, a federal judge in Massachusetts said March 25 (Kate Weissman v. United Healthcare Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-10580, D. Mass., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51568).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Less than two weeks after oral arguments, a panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal on March 24 found that allegations that George Washington University (GW) violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act were properly dismissed for lack of standing (Melissa Stanley v. George Washington University, et al., No. 19-7079, D.C. Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 9175).
ST. LOUIS — A district court properly dismissed duty-to-monitor claims alleged under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act against the trustees of an employee stock ownership plan because the plaintiffs failed to plausibly allege a claim for breach of the duty of prudence, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 24 (Deborah Vigeant, et al. v. Michael Meek, et al., No. 18-3616, 8th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 9120).
NEW YORK — In a March 24 order, a federal judge in New York granted a joint request to stay allegations by a 401(k) plan participant against an investment management firm, following a letter one day earlier indicating that a settlement in the case could be presented for preliminary approval within the next 60 days (Arthur Bekker, et al. v. Neuberger Berman Group LLC, et al., No. 16-6123, S.D. N.Y.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 23 denied a former professional basketball player’s petition for writ of certiorari, refusing to consider the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling that the player failed to timely file his suit for additional pension benefits that he claimed were still owed (Zaid Abdul-Aziz, et al. v. National Basketball Association, Players’ Pension Plan, No. 19-1007, U.S. Sup.).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A former employee of Estee Lauder Inc. who sued the cosmetics firm after almost $100,000 was fraudulently transferred from her retirement account filed a notice in California federal court on March 2, announcing that she and her former employer had reached a settlement in principle of her claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Naomi Berman v. Estee Lauder Inc., et al., No. 4:19-cv-06489, N.D. Calif.).