Legal Alert: U.S. Supreme Court to Review Conflict of Interest Standard in ERISA Plan Administrators' Benefit Determinations

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In a decision that could significantly impact ERISA plan administrators, the U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Metlife v. Glenn (U.S., No. 06-923, cert. granted 1/18/08), a case in which the Sixth Circuit reversed the decision of a plan administrator denying benefits under a long term disability plan. In Metlife, the Supreme Court will determine whether the Sixth Circuit erred when it held that the fact that an ERISA plan administrator also funds plan benefits, without more, constitutes a conflict of interest that should be considered by courts in reviewing a plan administrator?s benefit determination. Additionally, if the Court determines that this situation creates a conflict of interest, it will address how that conflict should be taken into account by a court reviewing a discretionary benefit determination.

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