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

En Banc Sixth Circuit Rules Against Disgorgement Remedy in Benefits Case

In Rochow v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 12-2074 (6th Cir. March 5, 2015), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, sitting en banc, ruled that an insurance company that wrongfully denied benefits to...more

Plan Administrator’s “Second Plan Interpretation” Violates Anti-Cutback Rule

The Third Circuit held that a plan administrator’s plan interpretation requiring an actuarial reduction of certain employees’ pension benefits conflicted with the plan’s terms. As such, its decision to reduce participants’...more

Reminder: Certain U.S. Reporting and Compliance Obligations for Investment Advisers and Funds

The U.S. federal securities laws and the rules of U.S. self-regulatory organizations (such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) impose certain reporting and compliance obligations on investment advisers and funds....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

Attorney Who Set Up and Administered VEBA and Welfare Benefit Plans Found Liable Under ERISA

SUMMARY: Defendants set up over 500 multiple-employer death benefit plans with entities they controlled acting as the trustees. The Department of Labor (“DOL”) brought a civil action alleging breach of fiduciary duty and...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

Ninth Circuit Rules Beneficiary Designation Forms Are Not Documents and Instruments Governing the Plan

In Becker v. Mays-Williams, 13-35069-cv, 2015 WL 348872 (9th Cir. Jan 28, 2015), the Ninth Circuit – in a matter of first impression – concluded that beneficiary designation forms were not “documents and instruments...more

Divorcing that TPA can be a problem

The MTV reality series The Real World ends their opening intro by stating the show tries “to find out what happens… when people stop being polite… and start getting real.” As an ERISA attorney working with retirement plan...more

Disgorgement of Profits Not Available for Arbitrary and Capricious Benefits Denial – This Time

Wrongful denial of employee benefits will not expose plan fiduciaries to equitable remedies – such as disgorgement of profits – where restoration of benefits is adequate to make the claimant whole, says the Sixth Circuit in...more

2014 in Review: ERISA Civil and Criminal Enforcement Activity by DOL Is Trending Upward

The Fact Sheet recently published by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) documenting Fiscal Year 2014 civil and criminal enforcement activity under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA) showed...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

SEC No-Action Letter Permits Non-ERISA Retirement Plans to Issue Participant Fee Disclosures Without Violating Securities Laws

In a no-action letter dated February 18, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) extended relief from the application of Rule 482 of the Securities Act of 1933 to certain retirement plans that are exempt from...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

DOL Clarifies Timing Requirement for Annual Investment-Related Disclosures

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a modification to the fee and investment-related disclosure requirements for ERISA individual account retirement plans that allow participants to direct the...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

Fifth Circuit: Hospital Enjoys Standing to Seek ERISA Benefits

The Fifth Circuit ruled that an out-of-network medical provider that was assigned a patient’s rights to health insurance benefits has standing to sue a health plan that underpays its portion of the benefits due even if the...more

DOL Provides More Timing Flexibility for Annual Participant Investment Disclosures

As promised, on March 19, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published guidance that would provide more flexibility in the timing of the annual plan and investment disclosures for participant-directed defined...more

Starting a Hedge Fund in 2015

Hedge funds are well into the transition from bastions of alternative investment to being accepted into the mainstream investment marketplace. It is now estimated that global hedge fund assets under management amount to in...more

A Great Idea isn’t everything

I always say that when I have a good idea, it’s despite the fact that most of my other ideas suck. Having been in this business for almost 17 years and in my practice for almost five, I hear lots of ideas from other...more

Sixth Circuit Rejects Claim that Disgorgement of Profits Is Appropriate Remedy in ERISA Benefit Denial Action

On March 5, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, sitting en banc in the matter of Rochow v. Life Insurance Company of North America, 2015 WL 925794 (6th Cir. Mar. 5, 2015), reversed the finding of a prior...more

The Sixth Circuit Vindicates the Fourth and Eleventh.

The en banc Sixth Circuit reaffirmed what the Fourth and Eleventh Circuits knew all along. Ever since Cigna v.Amara, 131 S. Ct. 1866 (2011), in which the United States Supreme Court provided fresh theories (e.g.,...more

2014 Pension Plan Regulatory Highlights

The start of the new year is as good a time as any to look back at some of the employee benefits regulatory developments of 2014 that were not previously covered in this column. Originally published in Employee Benefit...more

The Top 10 Wrong Ideas That Plan Sponsors Have About Their Retirement Plans

People can get the wrong idea at times. I’ll never understand what Fred Silverman was thinking when he made Jean Doumanian the successor to Lorne Michaels as Executive Producer of Saturday Night Live or when he imported Pink...more

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds PBGC Determination Disallowing Post-Termination Plan Amendment

In PBGC v. Kentucky Bancshares, Inc. (6th Cir. 2015, No. 14-5573, unpublished), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld a PBGC determination that Kentucky Bancshares violated applicable rules and regulations...more

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