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En Banc Sixth Circuit Rules Against Disgorgement Remedy in Benefits Case

In Rochow v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 12-2074 (6th Cir. March 5, 2015), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, sitting en banc, ruled that an insurance company that wrongfully denied benefits to...more

Second Circuit Revisits Remedies In Amara v. Cigna

The Second Circuit court of appeals held that a court can exercise its equitable powers to reform the terms of a cash balance retirement plan to provide greater benefits than stated in response to material misstatements made...more

Federal District Court Dismisses Class Action Litigation Concerning 401(k) Provider’s Float Practices

In In re Fidelity ERISA Float Litigation, Case No. 13-10222 (D. Mass. Mar. 11, 2015), the district court rejected an ERISA challenge to a 401(k) plan service provider’s float practices. ...more

Supreme Court Rules No Presumption of Lifetime Vesting of Retiree Health Benefits

The Supreme Court overturned the Sixth Circuit’s long-standing Yard-Man presumption, ruling that courts should apply ordinary contract principles to determine whether benefits have vested....more

Plan Sponsor Agrees to $62 Million Settlement in ERISA Case Challenging 401(k) Plan Fees

Lockheed Martin Corp. has settled the 401(k) excessive fee litigation pending against it in federal court in Illinois....more

Sixth Circuit Upholds Venue Selection Clause in Pension Plan

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld a pension plan’s venue selection clause and affirmed dismissal of the participant’s claims for benefits on the ground that such claims were not filed in the authorized...more

12/19/2014  /  Appeals , Dismissals , Forum Selection , Pensions

Ninth Circuit Applies Fifth Third v. Dudenhoeffer to Reverse Dismissal of Stock Drop Case

Speed Read - The Ninth Circuit becomes the first appellate court to interpret the Supreme Court’s Fifth Third v. Dudenhoeffer holding. In its ruling, the Ninth Circuit held that participants can maintain a claim...more

Insurer Agrees to $140 Million Settlement in ERISA Case Challenging Revenue Sharing Practices

Nationwide Life Insurance Co. has agreed to settle ERISA fiduciary breach claims brought on behalf of a class of retirement plan trustees that purchased annuity contracts and/or services from Nationwide for their plans....more

Federal District Court Dismisses “100% Equity Strategy” Claims on Statute of Limitations Grounds

A federal district court held that participants in a defined benefit plan had standing to challenge plan fiduciaries’ strategy of investing 100% of the plan’s assets in equities, but dismissed those claims based on ERISA’s...more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IRS Releases FAQs on Cafeteria Plan Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses Post-DOMA

The Internal Revenue Service has released a series of FAQs to answer several outstanding questions following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Windsor, which struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. The most...more

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

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

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