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The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - December 2014

This month's newsletter focuses on how Plan Trustees can appropriately settle ERISA breach of fiduciary duty claims in order to achieve "complete peace." The article provides a check list and discusses strategies for handling...more

In Post-Dudenhoeffer Decision, Class Action Plaintiffs Are Allowed to Pursue Their Claims For Fiduciary Breach Against Eastman...

A federal district court has permitted plaintiffs to pursue class actions against the fiduciaries of two Eastman Kodak defined contribution plans on the ground that those fiduciaries failed to prudently manage the plan funds....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

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

How to Settle an ERISA Breach of Fiduciary Duty Case and Sleep at Night: A Checklist for Plan Trustees to Consider

Plan trustees often look to settle ERISA fiduciary breach claims brought against them as a way to put the past behind them. Assuming there is enough fiduciary liability insurance coverage available to pay the proposed...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

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

Investment Management Update

In This Issue: - SEC Announces First-of-Its-Kind Whistleblower Award To an Audit and Compliance Professional - SEC Issues No-Action Letter To Allow for Amendment of a Sub-Advisory Agreement without Shareholder...more

U.S. Supreme Court to Decide ERISA Statute of Limitations Case

ERISA Section 413 generally sets forth a six year statute of limitations for bringing claims for fiduciary breach. On October 2, 2014, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Tibble v. Edison International to decide whether a...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

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Return to Pension Debates

In the closing days of its September term, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to return once again to what surely must be the most controversial subject at the moment in all of Illinois’ civil law: public pensions. Matthews v....more

Watch For A New Wave Of ERISA Stock Drop Cases

Plan fiduciaries may create a fiduciary duty in stock drop cases by incorporating filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission into the Summary Plan Description. We have been waiting for the Ninth Circuit to...more

Believe It or Not? In Omnicare, the Supreme Court Considers the Standard of Liability for Statements of Opinion

Americans take as given the right to hold and express opinions. So it may come as a surprise to many that the federal securities laws impose civil liability for statements of opinion. It may be even more surprising that...more

FCRA Preempts Tortious Interference Claim, Says NJ Court

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)—a federal law that regulates the collection and use of “consumer information”—covers employers who solicit third-party vendors known as consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) to run background...more

Reasonable Fee Issues for Fiduciaries on the Horizon

The Supreme Court is poised to address whether fiduciaries' decisions—especially in using fee sharing arrangements—are subject to deference when challenged. The Eighth and Ninth Circuit courts recently decided these issues,...more

Supreme Court to Review Application of ERISA’s Six-Year Statute of Limitations in Tibble v. Edison Int’l.

On October 2, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States granted the plaintiffs’ petition for a writ of certiorari in Tibble v. Edison International to answer “Whether a claim that [Employee Retirement Income Security Act]...more

Some Limited Trouble with Tibble? – Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Excessive-Fee Case Involving 401(k) Plan

The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari on October 2, 2014 in the case of Tibble v. Edison International, for the narrow purpose of reviewing the holding by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the statute of limitations...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

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Important Decision Affecting Fiduciaries of ESOPs

In a recent decision, Fifth Third Bankcorp v. Dudenhoeffer, 189 L.Ed. 2d 457 (2014), the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the “presumption of prudence” previously given to fiduciaries of employee-owned stock ownership plans (ESOPs)...more

Supreme Court Sets New Standards for ERISA Stock-Drop Cases

In the Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer decision issued June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the “Moench presumption”, a presumption of prudence for employer stock held in an ESOP or a 401(k) plan company...more

Supreme Court Rules No Presumption of Prudence for ESOP Fiduciaries

The United States Supreme Court clarified the duty of prudence that employee stock ownership plan fiduciaries owe to plan participants in its June 25, 2014 decision Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer 134 S.Ct. 2459 (U.S....more

A New Reality for ESOP Fiduciaries - Company Stock Investments for Employee Participants in Retirement Plans of Public and...

For the ESOP fiduciary of a publicly traded employer, the Supreme Court has made clear that non-public insider information is not required to be used in reaching a decision to buy, hold or sell employer securities....more

Supreme Court Unanimously Rejects Special "Presumption of Prudence" For Investment in Employer Stock

In the past, fiduciaries of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and other defined contribution plans that invest in employer stock generally have been able to rely on a special “presumption of prudence” in court when...more

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