Mealey's ERISA

  • September 26, 2023

    Differentiating Allegations, Judge Lets Some Claims Survive In BlackRock TDF Row

    RICHMOND, Va. — Differentiating the allegations from those in what were initially similar Employee Retirement Income Security Act cases over BlackRock LifePath Index target date funds (TDFs), a Virginia federal judge ruled in part that the plaintiffs stated a claim against Genworth Financial Inc. for breach of the duty of prudence.

  • September 26, 2023

    $975,000 Class Settlement Proposed In ERISA Imprudence Lawsuit

    NEW YORK — Plaintiffs in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act case alleging breach of the duty of prudence on Sept. 25 moved in New York federal court for preliminary approval of a class settlement including a $975,000 payment and nonmonetary relief.

  • September 25, 2023

    $2.9M Class Settlement Gets Final OK In ERISA Fees, Funds Case

    BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal judge on Sept. 22 granted final approval to a class settlement in which a $2.9 million payment plus an agreement to boost monitoring of investment and service provider monitoring resolve a suit challenging fees and funds in jointly administered retirement plans.

  • September 25, 2023

    Mental Health Insurer Never Meaningfully Engaged With Insureds, Judge Says

    SALT LAKE CITY — An insurer’s apparent failure to recognize that the program for which it originally approved treatment included both residential and transitional levels, its “cryptic denials” and its dismissal of the opinions of treating physicians evidence a failure to participate in meaningful dialogue with the insureds, a federal judge in Utah said in granting summary judgment on both Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and Parity Act claims.

  • September 25, 2023

    Texas Federal Judge Grants DOL Summary Judgment In ESG Investing Rule Case

    AMARILLO, Texas — Granting summary judgment for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on a challenge to its 2022 investment rule concerning environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, a Texas federal judge asserted that the rule “changes little in substance from the 2020 Rule and other rulemakings” and does not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

  • September 20, 2023

    Some Claims Proceed In Health Care Repricing Scheme Case Against UnitedHealth

    NEW YORK — Claims that various UnitedHealth Group Inc. entities collected billions of dollars in fees under a repricing scheme providing Employee Retirement Income Security Act plans with largely illusory savings suffice to overcome a motion to dismiss, a federal judge in New York said Sept. 19 in partly denying the motion.

  • September 18, 2023

    Government Urges High Court To Uphold ‘Bedrock Principle’ Of Chevron Deference

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. secretary of Commerce, two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (collectively, the government) urge the U.S. Supreme Court in a Sept. 15 brief to not overrule the doctrine of Chevron deference in a challenge to fishery regulations that were upheld by the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, writing that doing so could “cause disruption” to complex federal regulatory schemes.

  • September 15, 2023

    Certified Class: Insurer Used Single Experimental Treatment For Blanket Denials

    UTICA, N.Y. — A federal judge in New York on Sept. 14 certified a class of insureds who claim that United Behavioral Health violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by issuing blanket denials for residential treatments when it considered even a single aspect of the facility’s treatment experimental.

  • September 14, 2023

    11th Circuit Upholds Ruling Against Former Exec In ERISA Severance Row

    ATLANTA — In an unpublished per curiam opinion explaining only that “we find no reversible error in the district court’s judgment,” an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel upheld summary judgment against a former CSX Transportation Inc. executive in a dispute concerning what is known as a “top hat” severance plan.

  • September 14, 2023

    Parties In ERISA Case With Large Class Denied Permission For Interlocutory Appeal

    RICHMOND, Va. — Bids by a health insurer and subcontractor for permission to file interlocutory appeals to the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals over a class certification order in a suit concerning an alleged cost-shifting scheme were denied without explanation in a Sept. 13 order.

  • September 13, 2023

    Split 4th Circuit Panel Partly Remands ERISA Case In Equitable Remedy Ruling

    RICHMOND, Va. — Partly vacating dismissal of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act case over denial of a heart transplant, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel focused on the question of when monetary relief is equitable, splitting on an issue involving interpretation of a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision.

  • September 12, 2023

    ERISA-Imputed Withdrawal Liability Suit Is Dismissed On Jurisdictional Grounds

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rejecting objections filed by the trustees of a multiemployer pension plan and declining “to adopt a less rigorous standard for general personal jurisdiction,” a District of Columbia federal judge on Sept. 11 dismissed a lawsuit against a Bermuda insurance and reinsurance company over $934 million in withdrawal liability.

  • September 12, 2023

    En Banc Rehearing Sought Over 5th Circuit Decision Upholding ERISA ‘Mega-Class’

    NEW ORLEANS — Arguing in part that a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruling improperly “creates a roadmap to expand class actions well beyond traditional boundaries,” entities that market and administer retirement and health benefit plans through two trusts filed a Sept. 11 petition for rehearing en banc in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act case.

  • September 12, 2023

    Judge Won’t Let Plaintiffs Bolster Imprudence Claim In ERISA Funds Row

    SAN FRANCISCO — Saying that class action plaintiffs “failed to demonstrate good cause for amendment,” a California federal judge denied their bid to bolster their imprudence claim in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act suit on remand from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

  • September 11, 2023

    Oral Argument Set In Appeal Of ERISA Case Over Prohibited Transaction Ruling

    NEW ORLEANS — Oral argument in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has been set for Oct. 3 in a challenge to the dismissal of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act suit over a 401(k) plan service provider’s imposition of a surrender fee.

  • September 11, 2023

    Supreme Court Justice Denies Request To Stay Issuance Of Mandate In ERISA Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett has denied an application by two individuals who served as fiduciaries of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act retirement plan to stay issuance of a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals mandate against them pending a planned certiorari petition.

  • September 08, 2023

    Insureds Seek Rehearing Of Case Where 10th Circuit Ordered Claim Reprocessing

    DENVER — Arguing that it is “time to bring an end to the extra-statutory practice of remanding [Employee Retirement Income Security Act] benefit cases,” insureds are seeking rehearing of a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruling that ordered reprocessing of claims for residential treatment for mental health and substance use.

  • September 08, 2023

    Review Bid For 3rd Circuit ERISA Ruling Disputed In Effective Vindication Row

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Arguing that the petitioners’ assertions of conflicts “are based on mischaracterizations of the Third Circuit’s decision and this Court’s precedents,” a respondent on Sept. 7 urged the U.S. Supreme Court to deny review of a ruling declining to enforce an arbitration provision that includes a nonseverable class action waiver and was invoked in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act case.

  • September 08, 2023

    Disability Claimant Entitled To LTD Benefits, 6th Circuit Says In Reversing Ruling

    CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s ruling in favor of a disability insurer and remanded the suit with instructions to award a disability claimant long-term disability (LTD) benefits because the insurer’s finding that the claimant was not disabled from performing the duties of any occupation is not supported by credible medical evidence.

  • September 08, 2023

    DOL Sues Big TPA Over Emergency, Drug Screening Claim Adjudication

    MADISON, Wis. — Alleging that the third-party administrator (TPA) of more than 2,100 self-funded employee welfare benefit plans is a named and functional fiduciary in regard to the challenged conduct, Acting U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Julie A. Su filed an Employee Retirement Income Security Act suit over adverse benefit determinations regarding hospital emergency services claims and urinary drug screening claims.

  • September 08, 2023

    Disability Insurer’s Petition For Permission To Appeal Is Untimely, Panel Says

    PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied a disability insurer’s petition for permission to appeal a Pennsylvania federal judge’s ruling in a disability class action suit because the insurer failed to file the petition within 14 days of the original class certification order as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f).

  • September 08, 2023

    LTD Insurer’s Denial Of Claim Was Correct, Magistrate Judge Says

    GALVESTON, Texas — A Texas federal magistrate judge recommended granting a disability insurer’s motion for judgment on the administrative record after determining that the insurer’s denial of a long-term disability (LTD) claim was correct and supported by the medical evidence.

  • September 08, 2023

    Disability Benefits Claim Denial Was Not Arbitrary, Capricious, Judge Says

    PORTLAND, Maine — The denial of a long-term disability (LTD) claim was not arbitrary and capricious because the denial of benefits was reasonable and supported by substantial evidence, a Maine federal judge said in denying the claimant’s motion for judgment on the administrative record and in granting the disability plan’s motion for judgment.

  • September 08, 2023

    Claims Against Disability Plan Fail, Kentucky Federal Judge Determines

    PADUCAH, Ky. — A Kentucky federal judge dismissed a disability plan participant’s claims against a disability plan after determining that the disability claimant failed to show that the plan misstated the amount of long-term disability (LTD) benefits available to the claimant.

  • September 08, 2023

    Disability Insurer’s Motion To Dismiss Complaint Denied As Premature

    DAYTON, Ohio — An Ohio federal judge denied a disability insurer’s motion to dismiss a claimant’s suit alleging wrongful denial of disability benefits after determining that the motion is premature and that the parties must participate in discovery before the insurer’s arguments can be considered.