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Once Again, the Supreme Court Upsets Precedent in Fourth and Eleventh Circuit

As we reported in our March 11, 2014 article, the Eleventh and Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals definitively rejected the “continuing breach” theory in recent disputes involving statute of limitations deadlines in ERISA cases...more

The Sixth Circuit Vindicates the Fourth and Eleventh.

The en banc Sixth Circuit reaffirmed what the Fourth and Eleventh Circuits knew all along. Ever since Cigna v.Amara, 131 S. Ct. 1866 (2011), in which the United States Supreme Court provided fresh theories (e.g.,...more

District Court in 11th Circuit Deems Claim for Equitable Relief Appropriate under Amara and Varity

Yet again, the Court has been called upon to negotiate the juxtaposition between Varity and Amara. According to the Complaint in Biller v. Prudential Ins. Co. and Six Continents Hotels, Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. Lexis 118577,...more

District Court in Fourth Circuit Rejects Extension of Amara-like Remedies to Benefit Cases

The Honorable Martin Reidinger, sitting in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, declined Plaintiff’s invitation to extend the applicability of Cigna v. Amara, 131 S. Ct. 1866 (2011), to...more

Supreme Court Refocuses the 11th Circuit in its Review of an ESOP Fiduciary's Duty of Prudence.

Two years ago, when called upon to address an ESOP fiduciary’s duty of prudence in the context of a motion to dismiss, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals followed a long line of cases: “We join our five sister circuits in...more

Employee Benefit Plan is Governmental Plan, Even Though Employees are Not, says District Court in 11th Circuit.

It is a deceptively simple statement: Governmental employee benefit plans are exempt from ERISA. 29 U.S.C. § 1003(b)(1). But what about an employee benefit plan of an entity affiliated with a governmental entity, but whose...more

Eleventh Circuit Joins Fourth Circuit in Rejecting Continuing Breach Approach to ERISA's Statute of Limitation

When a participant of a defined contribution plan complains that the plan fiduciaries breached their duties in failing to remove poor performing funds from the 401(k)’s investment options, is the date of the breach when the...more

11th Circuit Court of Appeals Mandates Proactive Gathering and Review of SSA Information in LTD Benefit Review

Not long ago, the Unites States Supreme Court in MetLife v. Glenn, 128 S. Ct. 2343 (2008) gave a stern warning to plan fiduciaries who required a claimant to apply for disability benefits with the Social Security...more

Supreme Court Rules on Equitable Defenses to Reimbursement Claim by Employee Health Plan

Executive Summary: Reimbursement claim brought under ERISA sec. 502(a)(3) was akin to “equitable lien by agreement,” and therefore could not be defeated by equitable defenses that contradicted plan terms. ...more

Creditors Can Reach Benefits under "Top Hat" Plan, United States District Court of Maryland Rules

Executive Summary: ERISA “top hat” plan’s anti-alienation provision does not trump state garnishment laws. A familiar feature of ERISA is its protection of a participant’s retirement savings from creditors; ERISA...more

ERISA Does Not Preempt State Court Order Requiring Beneficiary to Renounce Right to Employee’s Plan Benefits, Fourth Circuit Rules

The scenario is not difficult to imagine: An employee designates her spouse as the primary beneficiary under her employer’s life insurance and retirement benefit plans. Years later, the couple divorces, and in the marital...more

The Fourth Circuit Opens the Door to Extrinsic Evidence in Considering a Claim for Employee Benefits

Executive Summary: The Fourth Circuit expands the scope of admissible evidence in an ERISA employee benefits case. The very first principle applied in a lawsuit for benefits from an ERISA-governed employee benefit plan...more

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