Mealey's ERISA

  • August 16, 2022

    High Court Seeks Response To Petition In ERISA Row Over Post-Distribution Suits

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 3 requested a response to a June 15 petition seeking review of a Colorado Court of Appeals ruling that preemption under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act “extends to post-distribution lawsuits”; in the petition, the representative of an estate contends that the dispute over life insurance plan proceeds represents an opportunity to resolve a circuit split over a question left open by Kennedy v. Plan Administrator for DuPont Savings & Investment Plan.

  • August 15, 2022

    Judge Denies Dismissal Bid, Standing Challenge In ERISA Funds, Fees Suit

    CHICAGO — Denying a motion to dismiss in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act suit challenging fees and funds in a defined-contribution retirement plan, an Illinois federal judge on Aug. 5 rejected an argument regarding standing that the court previously accepted in Brown-Davis v. Walgreen Co.

  • August 15, 2022

    Appellants, Amicus To 9th Circuit: Government Should Pay For ESOP Suit Defense

    HONOLULU — The parties that a trial court ruled prevailed in a lawsuit over the valuation of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) told the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 20 that they should not have to bear their defense costs because it was not reasonable for the federal government to file the suit; in a July 27 amicus curiae brief, The ESOP Association (TEA) also argues that the appellants should be awarded fees and costs.

  • August 15, 2022

    7th Circuit Upholds Ruling For DOL In Subpoena Row Involving ERISA

    CHICAGO — The investigatory authority of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act “hinges on the information requested and its relation to an actual or potential ERISA violation,” a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 12, upholding enforcement of an administrative subpoena issued against an entity that argued that it is not a fiduciary.

  • August 15, 2022

    Prior Plan Exclusion Applies; No LTD Benefits Owed, 11th Circuit Panel Affirms

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 10 affirmed a district court’s finding that a disability insurer’s decision to deny a long-term disability (LTD) benefits claim based on the plan’s prior plan exclusion was not wrong because the insurer’s interpretation of the exclusion as a bar to coverage was reasonable.

  • August 12, 2022

    Most ERISA Claims Survive But Judge Dismisses ADA Claim In Transgender Coverage Row

    SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Missouri federal judge on July 27 denied dismissal regarding four counts asserted under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act in a suit over facial feminization surgery (FFS) for a transgender woman diagnosed with gender dysphoria but granted dismissal regarding a claim asserted under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and a statutory ERISA claim.

  • August 12, 2022

    ERISA Claims Survive Dismissal Bid In Suit Over Proprietary Index Funds

    NEW YORK — Allegations that the selection and retention of proprietary index fund products for a retirement plan resulted in Employee Retirement Income Security Act violations of the duties of prudence and loyalty and the duty to monitor fiduciaries are sufficient to state a claim, a New York federal judge ruled Aug. 1.

  • August 11, 2022

    Fee-Shifting, Effective Vindication Addressed In ERISA Suit Over ESOP Stock Buy

    PHOENIX — Ruling on what he said “appears to be a question of first impression,” an Arizona federal judge on July 27 said the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts a contractual fee-shifting arrangement in an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).

  • August 10, 2022

    Chamber Wins Amicus Bid In ERISA Suit Over 401(k) Record-Keeping Fees

    CINCINNATI — Over the plaintiff’s opposition, a federal magistrate judge in Ohio on July 22 granted a motion by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America to participate as amicus curiae in a putative class suit over allegedly excessive record-keeping fees in a 401(k) plan.

  • August 09, 2022

    6th Circuit In Reversal: Contract Issue Didn’t Change ERISA Row To NLRA Action

    CINCINNATI — Reversing the dismissal of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act suit over allegedly late contributions to employee benefit funds, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 8 ruled that “the presence of a live contract goes to the merits of the Funds’ ERISA action, not the district court’s jurisdiction to hear it.”

  • August 09, 2022

    Jurisdiction Of ERISA Benefits, Relief Claims Argued In Certiorari Filings

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — On May 31, a health plan asked the U.S. Supreme Court to “clarify the contours of federal and state court subject matter jurisdiction” regarding Employee Retirement Income Security Act subrogation and reimbursement claims; in an Aug. 2 opposition, the beneficiaries argue in part that there is no conflict between challenged Ohio state court decisions “and federal jurisprudence.”

  • August 09, 2022

    Reconsideration In ERISA Suit Sought, Fought Under Recent 6th Circuit Decisions

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Citing two recent Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decisions, the defendants in a putative Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action on July 19 moved in Michigan federal court for partial reconsideration of an August 2021 order or, alternatively, certification for interlocutory appeal; in Aug. 4 opposition, the plaintiffs contend that the Sixth Circuit “decisions do not constitute intervening changes in controlling law.”

  • August 09, 2022

    Dismissal Bid Fails In ERISA Suit Over Spin-Off; Judge Rules ‘Employees’ Ambiguous

    PHILADELPHIA — Saying that a “so-called ‘spin off’ might have been a strategy to deprive long-term employees of benefits they had reason to expect,” a Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 4 denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the putative class suit that asserts claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • August 08, 2022

    Texas Federal Judge Grants Custodian Summary Judgment In ERISA Suit

    DALLAS — In an Aug. 3 opinion resolving numerous motions, a Texas federal judge granted summary judgment in favor of a company that served as custodian of two plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, ruling that the custodian did not serve as a functional fiduciary and that the lack of signed copies of two agreements under which the custodian claimed excuse from liability “does not create a genuine dispute of fact.”

  • August 05, 2022

    9th Circuit In Reversal On Reimbursement: ERISA Does Not Limit ‘Self-Help’ Remedy

    PASADENA, Calif. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 25 reversed a California federal judge’s grant of summary judgment against a health plan and its board, ruling that the plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act “is authorized to recoup” “through its self-help provision” previously paid benefits following third-party recovery.

  • August 05, 2022

    Construing Ambiguities Against Insurer, 1st Circuit Upholds $1.6M Judgment

    BOSTON — Finding ambiguities in the language of a life insurance policy and ruling that a lower court did not abuse its discretion, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 25 upheld a grant of summary judgment and award of attorney fees, costs and prejudgment interest against a life insurer.

  • August 05, 2022

    Blue Cross Granted Judgment On False Claim Issue In Tribe’s Health Care Plan Suit

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A Michigan federal judge on Aug. 3 granted partial summary judgment to a health care plan administrator on a claim by a Native American tribe that the administrator violated the Michigan Health Care False Claims Act (HCFCA) by making false claims about the rates it pays for health care.

  • August 04, 2022

    7th Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of Stock-Drop Suit Over ERISA Disclosure Duties

    CHICAGO — Affirming a trial court, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 1 ruled that participants in an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) did not meet the pleading standards outlined in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer and that because investment decisions were delegated to an independent fiduciary, The Boeing Co. and associated defendants “cannot be liable for breaching fiduciary duties” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act “that they simply did not have.”

  • August 03, 2022

    4th Circuit Affirms That Company In ERISA Case Adopted CBA ‘By Its Conduct’

    RICHMOND, Va. — Ruling for a second time against a company contesting a pension fund exit contribution, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 27 affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment on the basis that the company adopted a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) “by its conduct.”

  • August 03, 2022

    Attorneys Get A 3rd Of $3.5M Class Settlement Of 401(k) Funds, Fees Suit

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on Aug. 2 granted final approval to a $3.5 million class action settlement in a suit over alleged breach of fiduciary duties by Coca-Cola, its board and benefits committee, also approving the requested attorney fees, expenses and service awards.