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The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - April 2015

Editor's Overview - In this month's Newsletter, Robert Rachal discusses recent "church plan" rulings where some federal judges have declined to give deference to long-standing, consistent guidance from the Internal...more

Plan Administrator’s “Second Plan Interpretation” Violates Anti-Cutback Rule

The Third Circuit held that a plan administrator’s plan interpretation requiring an actuarial reduction of certain employees’ pension benefits conflicted with the plan’s terms. As such, its decision to reduce participants’...more

3/27/2015  /  ERISA , Pensions , Plan Administrators

Breaching Fiduciary Cannot Seek Equitable Indemnity from Another Fiduciary

A California federal district court dismissed a plan fiduciary’s equitable indemnity claim because such claims are not available to a breaching fiduciary under ERISA. Plaintiff William Brown commenced a putative class action...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - February 2015

The Supreme Court cast a ray of sunlight for employers by rejecting the use of a problematic inference in adjudicating claims for retiree benefits brought pursuant to collective bargaining agreements. For many years, the...more

District Court Defines Surcharge Broadly

A New York district court held that surcharge could include not only make-whole relief, but also consequential, exemplary, or punitive damages in limited circumstances where malice or fraud is involved. Plaintiff Janet...more

Second Circuit: Class-Wide Reformation Is Appropriate Equitable Relief

In the latest chapter of the Amara saga, the Second Circuit recently affirmed the district court’s class-wide order to reform CIGNA’s cash balance plan, as a means to remedy what the district court previously found to be...more

Ninth Circuit Breathes Life Into Participant’s Claim for Surcharge

A panel of the Ninth Circuit withdrew its earlier opinion and has now joined other circuits in finding that the equitable remedy of surcharge is available for participants seeking recovery of personal losses as opposed to...more

Second Circuit Rejects Plan’s Claim For Reimbursement From Another Plan

Where an ERISA plan specifically sets forth in the plan document its rights to reimbursement/subrogation vis-à-vis a plan participant then there is no requirement that recovery be conditioned on the plan being able to trace...more

District Courts Continue to Reject the Ninth Circuit’s Limitation on Surcharge

We previously reported that the Ninth Circuit stands alone in expressly limiting the availability of surcharge to cases involving loss to, or unjust enrichment at the expense of, the plan (as opposed to being available to a...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter

Editor's Overview - As it is well known, in Cigna Corp. v. Amara, 131 S. Ct. 1866 (2011), the U.S. Supreme Court identified several forms of appropriate equitable relief that may be available under Section 502(a)(3) of...more

View From Proskauer: The Availability of Surcharge as Relief for Individual ERISA Fiduciary Breach Claims

Three years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court identified three forms of appropriate equitable relief — reformation, equitable estoppel and surcharge — that are available under Section 502(a)(3) of the Employee Retirement Income...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - October 2014

Editor's Overview - The first article in this month's newsletter focuses on whether specific language in ERISA employer-provided disability insurance plans confer discretionary authority to plan administrators to...more

Sixth Circuit says ERISA does not preempt state law claim for fraudulent inducement.

The Sixth Circuit recently held that ERISA did not preempt a plan participant’s claim for state law fraudulent inducement. McCarthy v. Ameritech Pub., Inc., No. 12-4510, 2014 WL 3930572 (6th Cir. 2014). Defendant-API’s...more

Unpaid Employer Contributions as Plan Assets: Expansion Of Liability Under ERISA

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”), requires trustees of multiemployer pension and benefit funds to collect contributions required to be made by contributing employers under their...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - April 2014

This month we discuss the evolving case law on the issue of whether unpaid employer contributions due under a collective bargaining agreement can be viewed as plan assets such that the individuals who decide to withhold such...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - December 2013

This month we look at part two of our three part series on Class Actions. In part two, Robert Rachal, Page Griffin and Madeline Chimento Rea address Wal-Mart's Rule 23(b) principles, including some defenses to plaintiffs' use...more

District Court in Tenth Circuit Adopts Presumption of Prudence

A district court in the Tenth Circuit adopted the presumption of prudence in dismissing a class action alleging that the defendants violated their fiduciary duties by allowing participants to continue investing in company...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - October 2013

This month we return to the age-old question – "What makes someone a fiduciary?" As Nicole Eichberger explains, the Seventh Circuit reminded us that the meaning of a "functional fiduciary" depends on exercise/conduct in...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - September 2013

Editor's Overview - Health care issues make the headlines once again in this month's ERISA Litigation Newsletter. Tzvia Feiertag first provides practical and timely tips for insured ERISA health plan sponsors on...more

Ninth Circuit Allows Bankruptcy Discharge of ERISA Withdrawal Liability

The Ninth Circuit recently held that an employer who failed to pay $170,045 in withdrawal liability could discharge the liability in bankruptcy. Carpenters Pension Trust Fund v. Moxley, No. 11-16133 (9th Cir. August 20,...more

Chiropractors Lack Standing Under ERISA to Assert Claims For Benefits

A federal district court in New Jersey recently dismissed claims asserted by a putative class of chiropractors seeking to enjoin the procedure used by UnitedHealth to determine the necessity of certain treatments administered...more

Equitable Exception To Excuse Interim Withdrawal Liability Payments Rejected

A federal district court in New Jersey recently declined to apply an equitable exception to excuse an employer’s failure to pay interim withdrawal liability payments while it challenged the demand for withdrawal liability....more

View from Proskauer: The Supreme Court To Opine On The Use Of Contractual Limitation Periods in ERISA Plans

Last year, we reported on how the federal discovery rule – pursuant to which claims for benefits do not accrue until the participant could reasonably have discovered the claim – can require plans to defend the merits of dated...more

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