Benefit Plan Sponsors Employee Retirement Income Security Act

News & Analysis as of

Third Circuit Says ERISA Administrative Appeal Denial Letters Must State Plan-Imposed Time Limits

The Third Circuit recently held that ERISA administrative appeal denial letters must include plan-imposed time limits for commencing a lawsuit challenging the claim denial, and the failure to provide such notice warranted...more

ERISA Plan Can't Shrink Deadlines Without Providing Notice, Says 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled that an ERISA plan can’t shorten the deadline for filing a legal action challenging a denial of benefits unless the participant receives written communication of the plan’s altered...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - August 2015

Editor's Overview - As the summer draws to a close, this month's Newsletter previews three cases that the U.S. Supreme Court already has agreed to hear that ought to be of particular interest to ERISA plan sponsors and...more

Eleventh Circuit Addresses Statutory Penalty Claims under ERISA

The ERISA statute authorizes a court to award a penalty of up to $110 per day based on the failure of an Administrator to respond to a participant’s or a beneficiary’s request for plan documents. The term “Administrator” is...more

Commenters React to DOL’s Proposed Expansion of Fiduciary-Duty Rules

Four months after proposing a significantly expanded definition specifying when “investment advice” to employee plans and IRAs would give rise to fiduciary status under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, the...more

A Statistic is meaningless if you’re bad at it

There was a law school in Southern California that has a bar passage rate of 7%, which means 93% of their graduates failed the test. They sued the California Bar on free speech grounds because they didn’t want to be forced to...more

ERISA: Clarity on When ERISA Applies to Working Owners of Small Companies

You probably already know that in small, wholly owned “mom and pop” businesses, benefits covering only the owners of the business may be exempt from ERISA....more

DOL Hearings Debate “Fiduciary Duty” not “Suitability” Standard for Retirement Accounts

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL“) recently heard public comment to its proposed regulatory changes implementing a fiduciary duty on any individual receiving compensation for advice tailored to a plan sponsor, participant...more

Ninth Circuit: Multiemployer Plan Calling Unpaid Contributions “Plan Assets” Does Not Make Persons Controlling Contribution...

The Ninth Circuit recently held that a multiemployer pension plan (MEP) cannot label unpaid contributions as “plan assets” so as to impose ERISA fiduciary status on persons controlling the payment of employer contributions to...more

The ACA Is (Apparently) Here To Stay: What Employers Need To Know

Now that the Supreme Court has, for the second time, upheld a major portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it might be a good time to review your practices to ensure you are in compliance. The ACA’s new concept of what it...more

IRS Determination Letters No Longer Available After 2016

The IRS recently announced significant changes to its determination letter program that will become effective January 1, 2017. These changes essentially eliminate determination letters for individually designed plans that are...more

No Damages Awarded for ERISA Plan Fund Mapping Claims

Mapping in a 401(k) plan occurs when an investment option is removed and the participant’s investment in that option is transferred to a different investment option (absent direction from the participant). On remand from the...more

The Rosenbaum Law Firm Review - August 2015

Good Bets by a 401(k) Plan Sponsor to Avoid Liability. As close to a sure thing you'll get. I don't gamble because I don't like to lose and that's a big problem about gambling because people do lose. I stopped playing...more

Benefits Litigation Update – July 2015

Welcome to the new, rejuvenated version of the Benefits Litigation Update, which we bring you jointly with the law firm of Epstein Becker Green. Our goal is to provide a concise and, we hope, insightful glimpse into recent...more

Tenth Circuit Addresses ERISA Limitations Provision in Class Action Decision

In Fulghum v. Embarq. Corp., 785 F.3d 395 (10th Cir. 2015), the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals considered the claims of a class of telephone company retirees whose life and health insurance benefits were reduced or eliminated...more

The Top 7 Concerns for Employee Benefits Administrators

For years, employers have been getting a free pass from the courts for a number of different violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA") relating to the operation of retirement, medical,...more

Recent Decision Sheds Light on the ERISA Definition of a Top Hat Plan and the Absence of Detailed Guidance

The “top hat plan” exception to full ERISA coverage of an employee benefit plan is the very foundation of executive deferred compensation. The exception provides that “a plan which is unfunded and is maintained by an...more

Employee Benefits After The Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Obergefell v. Hodges establishes a national right to same-sex marriage and requires states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Generally speaking, this...more

Employee Benefits Developments - June 2015

Supreme Court: Plan Fiduciaries Have a Continuing Duty to Monitor Plan Investments. In 2007, participants and beneficiaries under a 401(k) plan sued the plan fiduciaries and the plan sponsor to recover damages for alleged...more

The Supreme Court Addresses Federal Health Care Subsidies and Same-Sex Marriage

Two recent Supreme Court decisions have implications for employee benefit plan sponsors: King v. Burwell, decided June 25, 2015, and Obergefell v. Hodges, decided June 26, 2015....more

United State Supreme Court Confirms ERISA Fiduciary’s Continuing Duty To Monitor Investments

In its Tibble v. Edison International decision the United State Supreme Court confirmed that the scope of an ERISA fiduciary’s duty of prudence continues after initial investments are made and imposes an ongoing duty to...more

Same-Sex Marriage and Employment Discrimination: The Future of Sexual Orientation Bias Claims

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country. In Oberfell v. Hodges, the Court held that Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment – commonly referred to as the Equal...more

Reminder: Non-Grandfathered Plans Must Implement Embedded Out-of-Pocket Maximums

As employers and plans prepare for 2016 open enrollment, they must be sure to address in their benefit design and with their third party vendors the new embedded out-of-pocket maximum limitations on individuals that were...more

DOL Proposes Broader ERISA Fiduciary Definition

In April, the Department of Labor (the “DOL”) issued controversial proposed regulations that would broaden the category of service providers who become fiduciaries under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974...more

Economic Analysis in Fiduciary Monitoring Disputes Following the Supreme Court’s ‘Tibble’ Ruling

The topic of fiduciary monitoring is receiving a lot of attention in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Tibble v. Edison (‘‘Tibble’’). In this decision, the Court ruled that plan fiduciaries have a...more

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