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Employee Benefits Developments - April 2016

Stock Drop Case Update: Settlement Reached in Dudenhoeffer Case; Dismissal of Lehman Brothers Lawsuit Upheld. Two recent developments in stock drop litigation are worth noting: Dudenhoeffer Settlement. In Fifth Third...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - April 2016

Editor's Overview - This month we feature three key developments. First, we review the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Gobeille v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 136 S. Ct. 936, 947 (2016) wherein the Supreme Court held that a...more

District Court Applies Dudenhoeffer “More Harm Than Good” Standard to Closely-Held Corporation

A federal district court in Mississippi ruled for the first time that the “more harm than good” pleading standard established by the Supreme Court in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, 134 S. Ct. 2459 (2014), applied to...more

Employer Stock Roundtable

We had a great client Dorsey Roundtable on March 24, 2016 to discuss employer stock in retirement plans. It’s been a few years now since the 2013 blockbuster opinion from the Supreme Court (back when they had 9 justices) in...more

SCOTUS v. the Ninth Circuit on Failure to Enforce ERISA Stock-Drop Pleading Standard

In a terse per curiam opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court in Amgen Inc. v. Harris, No. 15-278 (U.S. Jan. 25, 2016), made clear that it expects lower courts to faithfully apply the pleading requirements for “stock-drop” cases...more

U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Pleading Standard for Cases Involving Retirement Plan Investments in Employer Stock

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Amgen, Inc. v. Harris makes clear that the Court's heightened pleading standard applies to claims that a fiduciary of a retirement plan that has investments in employer stock should...more

Supreme Court Provides Additional Clarity on Pleading Requirements for ERISA Stock Drop Cases

The Supreme Court has provided additional clarity on the Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer decision. In Dudenhoeffer, the Supreme Court held that a fiduciary decision to invest in employer stock is not deemed to be...more

Supreme Court Emphasizes Heightened Pleading Standard for Stock Drop Cases

On January 25, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a per curiam opinion in Amgen Inc. v. Harris, holding that the Amgen, Inc. employees who filed suit after the value of the employer stock in which they had...more

Plausible sheep v. meritless goats: Supreme Court reinforces duty of care and prudence for retirement plans with employer stock...

The United States Supreme Court reaffirmed in Amgen v. Harris the pleading standards to be applied by the federal courts in reviewing a claim alleging breach of fiduciary duty in connection with an employer stock fund when...more

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 Supreme Court Once Again Visits The Employer Stock Dispute — Amgen, Inc. v. Harris

Background — fiduciary obligations vs. ERISA’s specific nod to employer stock. Courts have long struggled to determine how to reconcile ERISA’s rules explicitly allowing participants in defined contribution plans to invest in...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

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