Alison Douglass

Alison Douglass

Goodwin Procter LLP

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Fourth Circuit Places Burden on Defendants to Disprove Loss Causation in Fiduciary Breach Cases

In Tatum v. RJR Pension Investment Committee, No. 13-1360 (August 4, 2014), a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that, if the plaintiff in an ERISA fiduciary breach case proves that the...more

10/3/2014 - 401k Appeals Breach of Duty ERISA Loss Causation RJR Nabisco

First Circuit Rules for Insurers in Two Retained Asset Account Cases; An Insurer Does not Need “to Don the Commercial Equivalent...

The First Circuit recently decided two ERISA cases challenging the use of retained asset accounts in favor of the insurer-defendants. The decisions are Merrimon v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 758 F.3d 46, 50 (1st Cir. 2014)...more

10/2/2014 - Breach of Duty ERISA Fiduciary Duty Insurers Retained Asset Accounts

Supreme Court Urged to Consider Excessive Fee Case

The Supreme Court will soon announce whether it will address the scope of ERISA’s six-year statute of repose when applied to a claim that investments selected more than six years before suit commenced were imprudent due to...more

10/1/2014 - Employee Benefits ERISA Excessive Fees Fees SCOTUS

Third Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Excessive Fee Claims Against Insurer

The Third Circuit has affirmed dismissal of all claims against the insurer in a 401(k) excessive fee suit, rejecting arguments that the insurer is an ERISA fiduciary for its product's fees, even where the service provider has...more

9/30/2014 - 401k Dismissals DOL ERISA Excessive Fees

Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Stock Drop Challenge on Grounds Unrelated to Moench

Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, the central issue in nearly every case alleging the imprudent investment of plan assets in employer stock has revolved around whether plan...more

7/2/2014 - ERISA ESOP Fiduciary Duty FIfth Third Bancorp v Dudenhoeffer Moench Presumption SCOTUS Stock Drop Litigation

Ninth Circuit Holds that Monetary “Make-Whole” Relief Is Not Available Absent Loss to Plan or Unjust Enrichment for Defendant...

A Ninth Circuit panel recognized that reformation, equitable estoppel and surcharge were among the “appropriate equitable relief” potentially available under Section 502(a)(3) of ERISA (following dictum in CIGNA Corp. v....more

7/2/2014 - CIGNA CIGNA v Amara Equitable Estoppel Equitable Surcharge ERISA Make-Whole Doctrine reformation

Seventh Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment in Case Applying ERISA’s Statute of Limitations

A Seventh Circuit panel declined to apply ERISA’s three-year statute of limitations to bar fiduciary claims in a case arising out of a buy-out transaction involving an employee stock ownership plan. The court held that the...more

7/1/2014 - Appeals Buy-Out Agreements ERISA ESOP Fiduciary Duty Fiduciary Liability Statute of Limitations

Sixth Circuit Addresses Plan Assets and Limitations Issues in Holding Service Provider’s Fee Assessments Constituted Self-Dealing

The Sixth Circuit held in Hi-Lex Controls, Inc. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan that a service provider was liable as a fiduciary under ERISA for unauthorized fees it assessed against a self-funded health plan. In...more

7/1/2014 - Blue Shield ERISA Fees Fiduciary Liability Fraud Plan Administrators Self-Dealing Self-Funded Health Plans Statute of Limitations

Supreme Court Rules No “Presumption of Prudence” for Employer Stock Plan Fiduciaries

In a decision that could have significant implications for certain companies and their 401(k) and other plans that invest in employer stock, the Supreme Court ruled, in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, that there is no...more

6/30/2014 - ERISA ESOP Fiduciary Duty FIfth Third Bancorp v Dudenhoeffer Fifth Third Mortgage Company SCOTUS Stock Drop Litigation

District Court Relies on Fee Disclosure Regulation to Dismiss Complaint

A federal district court in New York last month dismissed a class action complaint brought by a company sponsoring a 401(k) plan. The plaintiff, in Skin Pathology Associates v. Morgan Stanley, alleged, among other claims,...more

3/25/2014 - 401k Class Action Disclosure DOL Fees Morgan Stanley

In Fuller, Eleventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Claims Challenging Financial Services Company’s Use of Proprietary Products in...

In a recent Eleventh Circuit case challenging, under ERISA, the use of proprietary funds in a financial services company’s own retirement plan, the court affirmed dismissal of the claims. It held, in Fuller v. SunTrust...more

3/25/2014 - ERISA Retirement Plan Statute of Limitations

In Tiblier, Fifth Circuit Holds Investment Advisor Was Not a Fiduciary With Respect to Investment that Resulted in Plan Losses

The Fifth Circuit ruled last month that a plan investment advisor could not be held liable under ERISA for plan losses as a result of an investment, where the advisor did not act as a fiduciary with respect to that...more

3/24/2014 - Breach of Duty ERISA Fiduciary Duty Fiduciary Liability Investment Adviser

In Tussey, Eighth Circuit Weighs in on Excessive Fee Claims

The Eighth Circuit issued a highly anticipated decision yesterday in the appeal of the first ERISA excessive fee class action to proceed to a trial on substantially all of the pleaded claims. In Tussey v. ABB, the court...more

3/24/2014 - Benefit Plan Sponsors Employee Benefits ERISA Fees

Supreme Court Upholds Enforcement of Plan Document Limitations Period for Benefit Claims

In a decision handed down yesterday, Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., the Supreme Court confirmed that ERISA plan documents may prescribe an enforceable limitations period for the assertion of benefits...more

12/18/2013 - Claims Limitations Period ERISA Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co. SCOTUS Statute of Limitations

Solicitor General Urges Supreme Court to Address Plan Investment in Company Stock

The U.S. government, through a brief submitted by the Solicitor General, is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to consider clarifying when a plaintiff may state a claim against plan fiduciaries for the continued holding of...more

12/16/2013 - ERISA Retirement Plan SCOTUS Solicitor General Stocks

Sixth Circuit Allows Expansive Remedies by Awarding Both Disgorgement of Profits and Benefits

In a 2-1 decision, a Sixth Circuit panel, in an expansive view of the remedies available under ERISA, affirmed a district court decision allowing a plaintiff to both recover disability benefits under ERISA § 502(a)(1)(B) and...more

12/16/2013 - Disability Disgorgement Equitable Relief ERISA

Courts Disagree over Jury Trial Right in ERISA Fiduciary Cases

Federal district courts in Missouri and Vermont have come to opposite conclusions regarding a right to jury trial with respect to fiduciary breach claims brought under ERISA section 502(a)(2). Applying the Supreme Court’s...more

12/16/2013 - Breach of Duty ERISA Fiduciary Duty

In Abbott, Seventh Circuit Refines Applicability of Class Action Device in Defined Contribution Challenge

In its continuing analysis of when a class may be certified in a case alleging breach of fiduciary duties with respect to a defined contribution plan, the Seventh Circuit, in Abbott v. Lockheed Martin Corporation, reversed...more

9/30/2013 - 401k Boeing Class Action Class Certification Defined Contribution Plans ERISA Fees Fiduciary Duty Lockheed Martin Standing

In Edmonson, Third Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment for Insurer in Retained Asset Account Case

In one of many cases challenging the use of retained asset accounts in group insurance benefit plans, the Third Circuit, in Edmonson v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, affirmed summary judgment for the defendant...more

9/30/2013 - Breach of Duty ERISA Fiduciary Duty Life Insurance Lincoln National Life Insurance Company Retained Asset Accounts

In Pipefitters, Sixth Circuit Holds Service Provider Is Fiduciary in Assessing Fee

Speed Read - The Sixth Circuit, in a unanimous decision, affirmed a lower court ruling in Pipefitters Local 636 Insurance Fund v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, holding that an entity providing services to a...more

9/26/2013 - ACS Blue Cross ERISA Fiduciary Duty Health Insurance Self-Funded Health Plans

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