Employee Retirement Income Security Act

Employee Retirement Income Security Act is a United States federal law enacted in 1974 to set minimum standards for pension and health plans in the private sector and to protect participants in those plans.... more +
Employee Retirement Income Security Act is a United States federal law enacted in 1974 to set minimum standards for pension and health plans in the private sector and to protect participants in those plans.  ERISA requires plans to provide information to participants, establishes a grievance process,  and allows participants to sue for benefits or breach of fiduciary duties.  less -
News & Analysis as of

Insurance Industry Sweeps Retained Asset Account Doubleheader

On August 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held in Vander Luitgaren v. Sun Life Ass. Co. of Canada, No. 13–2090, 2014 WL 4197947 (1st Cir. Aug. 26, 2014), that an insurer, acting as a claims administrator,...more

DOL Requests Information Regarding Use of Brokerage Windows and Similar Arrangements in Participant-Directed Defined Contribution...

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) published a request for information (the “RFI”) regarding the use of brokerage windows, self-directed brokerage accounts, and similar arrangements (collectively referred to in this article...more

Developments Impacting Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses

As federal and state agencies and courts further examine the implications of the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling on same-sex marriage in U.S. v. Windsor, the laws and regulations governing employee benefits for...more

ERISA: Plaintiff’s Attorney Fees Denied — Filing Of Lawsuit Was Not Reason Why Benefits Were Granted

You already know that in ERISA cases a court may, in its discretion, award attorney fees if a party achieved “some degree of success on the merits.”...more

District Courts Reviewing ERISA Cases Under the Arbitrary and Capricious Review Standard Serve Only in an Appellate Role

In McCorkle v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 13-30745, 2014 WL 2983360 (5th Cir. 2014), the Fifth Circuit reversed the district court’s holding that MetLife’s adverse determination regarding the plaintiff’s claim for benefits due to...more

IRS Amends Revenue Ruling 81-100 to Permit Participation in Group Trusts by Puerto Rico Plans and Insurance Company Separate...

The Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) issued Revenue Ruling 2014-24 (the “Ruling”). The Ruling amends Revenue Ruling 81-100, the ruling that established the requirements applicable to a tax-qualified group trust. The...more

IRS Finalizes Guidance on Rev. Rul. 81-100 Group Trusts, and Insurance Company Separate Accounts

In Rev. Rul. 2014-24, scheduled for publication on September 8, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (the Service) substantially completed its pending guidance on Rev. Rul. 81-100 group trusts by permanently authorizing the...more

PBGC Publishes Final Regulations on the Phase-In Period for Guarantee of Benefits for an Unpredictable Contingent Event

The Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (“PBGC”) recently published final regulations related to the phase-in period for its guarantee of benefits that are contingent upon the occurrence of an “unpredictable contingent...more

Burden of Proof: The "What Changed?" Argument from "A Medley of Interesting Disability Cases"

Hegger v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of America, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28587 (N.D. Cal. 2013) - Facts and holding: Plaintiff Tami Hegger (“Hegger”) was employed as a medical device sales representative until she left work in...more

Governments May Be Exempt From ERISA, But They Are Not Exempt From Securities Laws

ERISA lawyers know that employee benefit plans offered by state and local governments to their employees are not subject to ERISA, the federal law that generally governs benefit plans of private employers. However, other...more

New Guidance on Locating Missing Participants for Terminated Defined Contribution Plans

On August 14, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provided new guidance to plan fiduciaries of terminated defined contribution plans for locating missing and unresponsive participants in order to distribute their...more

Resistance WAS Futile—California Conforms to ACA Waiting Period Requirement

After wandering in the wilderness for a year, California has now come in from the cold and conformed its requirements for eligibility waiting periods to the federal standard adopted in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Effective...more

District Court in Fourth Circuit Rejects Extension of Amara-like Remedies to Benefit Cases

The Honorable Martin Reidinger, sitting in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, declined Plaintiff’s invitation to extend the applicability of Cigna v. Amara, 131 S. Ct. 1866 (2011), to...more

ERISA ATTORNEY FEES – 1st Circuit: Court Remand to Claims Administrator “because the record is insufficient for de novo review” is...

You have seen this issue before: The court remands the ERISA-governed long term disability claim for further consideration by the claims administrator because the administrative record was insufficient for de novo review....more

Divided Fourth Circuit Panel Rules On Burden of Proving Loss Causation in ERISA Fiduciary Breach Case

That was the sentiment expressed in a blistering dissent by Fourth Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson in the latest ruling in a lawsuit challenging the decision by the fiduicaries of the RJR 401(k) plan to liquidate two stock...more

District Court Allows ERISA Section 510 Retaliation Claim to Proceed

A federal district court in Pennsylvania concluded that Irene Najmola, a former employee of Chester County Hospital, sufficiently pled a retaliation claim under ERISA section 510 by alleging that her employment was terminated...more

The Reckless Fiduciary: When Are Imprudent U.S. Fiduciaries Liable For Plan Losses?

“A pure heart and an empty head are not enough.” This is a quote from an early case defining the scope of ERISA fiduciary liability. However, ERISA has always made fiduciaries responsible only for losses caused by their...more

ERISA: 6th Circuit — Benefit Denial Letters: Include The Time Limit For Judicial Review Or Lose Contractual Limitations Defense

Does your ERISA claim benefit denial letter preserve the contractual limitations defense? If your denial letter fails to expressly state the contractual limitations timeframe, it might not preserve that defense. ...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

How Good the Advisor is often based on how well they play with other plan providers

What makes a good retirement plan financial advisor? Well it takes an attention to detail, an understanding of what the role to entails, and a dedication to the client. In addition, what I find is the way a good financial...more

Non-Compete Provisions in ERISA Plans – A Recent 5th Circuit Case

A recent case out of the Northern District of Texas and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals touches upon the intersection of non-compete agreements and ERISA plans....more

Financial Service Company’s Nonqualified Plan Found to be an ERISA Pension Plan

In Tolbert v. RBC Capital Markets (July 14, 2014), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that a deferred incentive compensation plan maintained by a financial services company for certain employees was an...more

Fourth Circuit Adopts More Demanding Test for Exercise of Objective Prudence by Retirement Plan Fiduciaries -Tatum v. RJR Pension...

In the latest ruling in a long-running battle arising from company stock fund divestments, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has underscored the importance of procedural prudence in the management of plan...more

Religious Institutions: August 2014

If the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had a moratorium on enforcing §501(c)(3) electioneering restrictions against churches and religious organizations, the IRS states that it has been lifted incident to the settlement and...more

Update For Retirement Plans Post-Windsor

Now that some of the dust has settled on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor, employers who haven’t done so already should take immediate steps to review their retirement plan documents and administrative...more

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