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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

Reach Out And Designate Someone?

The seemingly staid world of retirement plan beneficiary designations was surprised by a recent federal appeals court decision suggesting that a new beneficiary could be designated by a telephone call. ...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

U.S. District Court Rules that Float Income Earned by Fidelity Is Not a Plan Asset

Four class actions were consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts challenging whether float income earned on monies pending a transaction was a “plan asset.” In re Fidelity ERISA Float Income,...more

ERISA — 5 Quick Points: Blowing a Deadline for Decision is Not Necessarily Fatal to Abuse of Discretion Standard

You already know that ERISA regulations require the plan administrator to render a decision on an administrative appeal within 45 days....more

U.S. Supreme Court Weighs in on Labor Department’s Interpretation of Overtime Rules for Mortgage Loan Officers

We know that many of you are aware of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association. The Court held that the U.S. Department of Labor was not required to follow notice and comment procedures in...more

Ninth Circuit Rules That Harmless Procedural Violation Does Not Alter Standard of Review

The Ninth Circuit held that a plan administrator’s failure to render a decision on a long-term disability benefits claim within the period mandated by the plan and ERISA did not alter the standard of review that the court...more

Fiduciary Breach Claim Based On Oral Representation Can Proceed

A federal district court in New Jersey held that oral misrepresentations may support a breach of fiduciary duty claim under ERISA. Plaintiff Richard Lees was hired by American Re–Insurance Company, although he was paid by...more

Chief Justice Invites New Governor, Legislature to Rare Evening Oral Argument

This evening will bring an event likely not seen in Illinois in more than a century – an evening session of the Illinois Supreme Court....more

Supreme Court Ruling Makes Mortgage Loan Officers Eligible for Overtime Pay

Federal agencies now have the authority to interpret their own rules. On March 9, 2015, in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Ass’n, No. 13-1041, slip op. (U.S. Mar. 9, 2015), the United States Supreme Court effectively gave...more

Can Mortgage Loan Officers Still be Exempt from FLSA Overtime Requirements?

On March 9, 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion upholding a 2010 Department of Labor (DOL) interpretative rule finding that mortgage loan officers are generally not administratively exempt from Fair Labor...more

What Employers under Collective Bargaining Agreements Should Know about the Decision in M&G Polymers v. Tackett

Recently, the United States Supreme Court undertook a significant course-correction in the vesting of retiree health benefits under collective bargaining agreements (“CBAs”). ...more

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

Supreme Court Holds Federal Agencies May Reverse Their Positions Through Informal Guidance

On March 9, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Ass’n, No. 13-1041 (Mar. 9, 2015), holding federal administrative agencies may amend or repeal interpretive rules without following...more

The Pension Case: The State’s Reply Brief

In their reply brief in the Public Pension Reform Act appeal, the State immediately zeroes in on what it perceives as the central difficulty of the plaintiffs’ position: the trial court’s conclusion that the Pension...more

Federal Wage Claims? That's The Easy Part!

Retailers are all too familiar with collective actions filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) making claims for unpaid overtime based on alleged misclassification of employees as exempt, working off the clock, or not...more

Same-Sex Spouse Has No Standing to Assert COBRA Notice Claim

A New Jersey federal district court held (in an unpublished opinion) that a former plan participant’s same-sex spouse who never enrolled in the benefit plan did not have standing to assert a claim alleging that his spouse’s...more

Update on Criminal Background Checks: Impact of EEOC v. Freeman and Ongoing Challenges in a Continuously Changing Legal...

The latest chapter in the ongoing saga of employment-related criminal background checks in the United States has been written, and one of the authors had some particularly strong words for the Equal Employment Opportunity...more

Employers Running Background Checks: Top 10 Tips to Avoid Joining the Fair Credit Reporting Act Litigation “Club”

What do Whole Foods, Chuck E. Cheese, Michael’s Stores, Dollar General, Panera, Publix, and K-Mart have in common? Each of these companies has faced lawsuits (including class actions) under the Fair Credit Reporting Act...more

Comcast, Superiority, Predominance and Injunctive Relief Addressed in Recent Second Circuit Class Certification Opinions

The Second Circuit recently addressed a panoply of class certification issues in two opinions. Both decisions ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, but will help defendants tailor their arguments in future cases....more

U.S. Supreme Court Describes “Ordinary Principles of Contract Law”

In a contract governed by federal law, does “The End” really mean “The End”? Some federal courts have said “no,” but the U.S. Supreme Court has just said “yes.” ...more

Supreme Court Rejects Sixth Circuit’s Yard-Man Inferences in M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett

In M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, 135 S. Ct. 935 (2015), the Supreme Court of the United States addressed the interpretation of collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that include post-retirement welfare benefits, such as...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

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