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2016 Trends #7: Renewed Focus on Boosting Whistleblower Rights and Squashing Retaliation

To help prepare compliance professionals for the year ahead, we’ve talked with industry experts, our colleagues at NAVEX Global, and ethics and compliance professionals from our more than 12,500 client organizations to gather...more

ERISA (5th Circuit): Are There Exceptions to the Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies Requirement

You already know that claimants with a denied claim must submit an appeal and exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit. But are phone calls sufficient to trigger the appeal process?...more

Third Circuit Holds Companies in Bankruptcy Can Reject Expired CBAs

In a ruling that comes as a blow to organized labor and a boon to employers in bankruptcy, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently broke new appellate ground in holding that Section 1113 of the Bankruptcy...more

How Does the Supreme Court’s Obergefell Decision Affect Your Employee Benefit Plans?

The short answer: No plan amendments are required, but certain plan amendments and operational changes are permitted, and certain operational changes may be required....more

3rd Circuit Affirms Dismissal in Long-Running Weist SOX Whistleblower Case

On February 2, 2016, the Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the SOX whistleblower retaliation claim in the closely watched case of Weist v. Tyco Electronics Corp., No. 15-2034. We have posted on key events during the...more

Advisors Advantage - February 2016

Avoiding The “Bumps” Of Being A Retirement Plan Provider - I’m a big fan of business history and every successful company that has ever been founded has had a few bumps along the way. For example, Apple almost went out...more

Retiree Health Benefits Case Remanded to District Court for Additional Fact Finding

On remand from the Supreme Court, the Sixth Circuit sent the parties in Tackett v. M&G Polymers USA, LLC back to the district court for additional factual determinations on whether the retirees who commenced the lawsuit had...more

Will Plan Participants’ Demands for Perfection Retire Large 401(k) Plans?

Participants in Anthem Inc.’s $5.1 billion 401(k) plan have sued plan fiduciaries, alleging that they have top-shelf tastes that constitute a breach of the duties of loyalty and prudence owed to participants, and that the...more

Supreme Court Revisits Stock Drop Fiduciary Standards

In Amgen v. Harris, the Supreme Court for the second time considered whether the plan participants sufficiently stated a claim against the plan fiduciaries for breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA by continuing to provide...more

What Amgen and Tackett Tell Us About ERISA Litigation Trend Lines

Two recent Supreme Court decisions, and a recent Sixth Circuit analysis on remand from the Supreme Court, offer a roadmap of sorts on ERISA litigation. In both decisions, the Supreme Court did away with presumptions, and at...more

Supreme Court’s Amgen Order Confirms That Fifth Third Bancorp’s ERISA Stock-Drop Pleading Standard Has Teeth

In a recent per curiam order granting the plan fiduciaries’ petition for certiorari and reversing the Ninth Circuit, the United States Supreme Court made clear that it expects lower courts to faithfully apply the pleading...more

SCOTUS Meant What It Said & Said What It Meant: Dudenhoeffer Imposes Higher Pleading Standards

In a rebuke to the Ninth Circuit, the Supreme Court granted the Amgen defendants’ petition for certiorari, reversed the Ninth Circuit’s judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with its opinion in the...more

Third Circuit Court of Appeals Permits Chapter 11 Debtor to Reject Expired CBA

It is a familiar scenario: a company is on the verge of bankruptcy, bound by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and unable to negotiate a new agreement. However, this time, an analysis of this distressed...more

Supreme Court Limits ERISA Plan Reimbursement Rights: ERISA Fiduciaries Need to be Diligent

On January 20, 2016, the United States Supreme Court held that an ERISA plan could not satisfy its reimbursement rights from a participant’s general assets. ERISA plans’ reimbursement rights are now so limited that...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - January 2016

Editor's Overview - Happy New Year! Because 401(k) plans play an increasingly prominent role as an employee's principal retirement investment vehicle, fiduciaries overseeing those plans face increased pressure to see...more

Federal Court Dismisses “Excessive Fee” Claims Against Plan’s Service Provider: McCaffree Financial Corporation v. Principal Life...

The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of a retirement plan’s claims against a company with whom the plan had contracted to provide the plan’s investment options. The holding in McCaffree...more

The Magic 8 Ball Says – The Supreme Court’s Montanile Decision and The Seemingly Random Evolution of Supreme Court ERISA Remedies...

It’s a common fact pattern. A plan participant is injured and received benefits for treatment of his injuries. The participant then sues a third party for damages based on his injuries. The plan then seeks to recover a...more

Will Your 401(k) Plan be Sued in the New Year?

Late last year, another lawsuit was brought on behalf of participants in a 401(k) plan alleging breaches of fiduciary duties resulting from allegedly high plan fees. This type of case is not novel; the law firm that brought...more

U.S. Supreme Court Holds ERISA Plan Cannot Enforce Equitable Lien Against Participant’s General Assets

On January 20, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a decision by the Eleventh Circuit and held that when a ERISA plan participant obtains a third-party settlement subject to a plan’s subrogation provision, and then...more

Eighth Circuit Holds Service Provider Is Not A Plan Fiduciary In Excessive Fee Case

Continuing a trend in other Circuits, the Eighth Circuit held that a service provider that was contracted to provide the 401(k) plan’s investment options does not act as an ERISA fiduciary when, consistent with the terms of a...more

Defined Benefit Plan Participant’s Action Mooted by ERISA Plan’s Improved Financial Condition

A federal district court in Minnesota dismissed a plan participant’s allegations that plan fiduciaries mismanaged a defined benefit plan — and thus caused it to be underfunded — because the plan’s financial condition improved...more

Is a Qualified Retirement Plan Required to Apply Windsor Retroactively?

Following the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in U.S. v. Windsor (in which the Court held that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) was unconstitutional), one of the questions facing sponsors of...more

Fifth Circuit Upholds ERISA Disability and Life Benefit Denials

In two decisions issued last month, the Fifth Circuit upheld ERISA plan denials of disability and life benefits, confirming its deferential approach in most ERISA benefit cases....more

Holiday Pay: Clear Blue Skies Ahead?

Paying employees for their annual leave in the UK used to be viewed as a straightforward process, with many companies calculating holiday pay at the employee’s basic pay rate. However, in 2014, several employment law...more

Another Post-Tackett Ruling Denying Retiree Health Benefits

A district court in West Virginia recently held that retirees were not entitled to lifetime health benefits under the clear and unambiguous language of the relevant collective bargaining agreements. Shortly after Constellium...more

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