News & Analysis as of

U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies the Scope of ERISA Fiduciary Obligations in Recent Stock Drop Decision

In recent years, plaintiffs’ lawyers have brought numerous ERISA breach of fiduciary duty lawsuits against employers that offer employer stock funds in their 401(k) plans. These lawsuits are typically brought on behalf of...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

The Supreme Court Meant What It Said On Employer Stock Funds

On January 25, 2016, in Amgen, Inc. v. Harris, 2016 WL 280886, the Supreme Court sent a strong message to the lower courts, plaintiffs and ERISA fiduciaries that pleading standards for breach of fiduciary duty prudence claims...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

Be Careful What You Wish For – Dudenhoeffer May Do “More Harm Than Good” For ERISA “Stock Drop” Plaintiffs

In its June 2014 decision in Dudenhoeffer v. Fifth Third Bank, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously declined to recognize a “presumption of prudence” that had favored retirement-plan fiduciaries faced with allegations of...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

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - September 2015

Editor's Overview - It has been a little more than one year since the U.S. Supreme Court altered the legal landscape for litigating ERISA breach of fiduciary duty claims relating to the investment in employer stock...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 Again Affirms Dismissal of Stock Drop Claim Against Delta Air Lines

The Eleventh Circuit affirmed dismissal of ERISA breach of fiduciary claims against Delta Air Lines and other alleged plan fiduciaries in connection with a defined contribution plan’s investments in Delta Air Lines stock. ...more

Employee Benefits Developments - July 2015

Second Circuit Holds That Posthumous QDROs Are Valid. Yale-New Haven Hospital brought an action in federal court to resolve competing claims by a former spouse of a deceased participant and the deceased participant’s...more

Ninth Circuit Again Wrestles with Fifth Third v. Dudenhoeffer, and Again Reverses Dismissal of Stock Drop Case

Factual Background - As described in greater detail in the December 18, 2014 edition of the ELU, this case involves claims for breach of fiduciary duty when two 401(k) plans remained invested in the employer stock at a...more

View From McDermott: 2014 ERISA Litigation Review–Decisions From the Supreme Court and Beyond

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a number of significant ERISA cases. In its 2013-14 term, the Supreme Court decided two ERISA-based appeals – Fifth Third Bancorp. v. Dudenhoeffer and Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Acc....more

Employee Benefits Developments - January 2015

IRS Publishes FAQs Regarding Rollovers of After-Tax Contributions. In the December 2014 issue of Employee Benefits Developments, we reported on IRS Notice 2014-54, which allows participants to direct and allocate after-tax...more

"Dudenhoeffer: An Effective Tool to 'Weed Out Meritless' Employer Stock-Drop Claims?"

In Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, 573 U.S. __, 134 S. Ct. 2459 (2014), a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court held that fiduciaries of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) are not entitled to a special presumption that their...more

What Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer May Mean for ERISA Stock-Drop Litigation

Did the future course of “stock-drop” litigation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) against fiduciaries of public company employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) take a sharp turn on June 25, 2014, when...more

Supreme Court Establishes New Standard for Fiduciaries of ESOP Plans

The Supreme Court, in Fifth Third Bancorp v. John Dudenhoeffer (Dudenhoeffer), recently established new standards for determining when fiduciaries of Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) act prudently regarding a company’s...more

Fourth Circuit Adds Even More Complexity to Benefit Plan Fiduciaries' Role

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Dudenhoeffer decision demonstrated that benefit plan fiduciaries are definitely in the litigation spotlight, and that they should exercise caution to avoid fiduciary liability in garden-variety...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

Supreme Court Sets New Standards for ERISA Stock-Drop Cases

In the Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer decision issued June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the “Moench presumption”, a presumption of prudence for employer stock held in an ESOP or a 401(k) plan company...more

Supreme Court Rules No Presumption of Prudence for ESOP Fiduciaries

The United States Supreme Court clarified the duty of prudence that employee stock ownership plan fiduciaries owe to plan participants in its June 25, 2014 decision Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer 134 S.Ct. 2459 (U.S....more

A Review of the Supreme Court’s 2013-2014 Term

The United States Supreme Court concluded its 2013-2014 term by issuing decisions in several highly publicized employment and employee benefits cases during the Court’s final scheduled sessions, including Noel Canning,...more

2014 Mid-Year Report Securities Litigation and Regulatory Enforcement

Welcome to the 2014 Mid-Year Report from the BakerHostetler Securities Litigation and Regulatory Enforcement Practice Team. Its purpose is to provide a periodic survey, apart from our team Executive Alerts, on matters we...more

A New Reality for ESOP Fiduciaries - Company Stock Investments for Employee Participants in Retirement Plans of Public and...

For the ESOP fiduciary of a publicly traded employer, the Supreme Court has made clear that non-public insider information is not required to be used in reaching a decision to buy, hold or sell employer securities....more

Supreme Court Unanimously Rejects Special "Presumption of Prudence" For Investment in Employer Stock

In the past, fiduciaries of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and other defined contribution plans that invest in employer stock generally have been able to rely on a special “presumption of prudence” in court when...more

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