Plan Administrators

News & Analysis as of

ERISA: 4th Circuit: When Is A Plan Administrator Obligated To Obtain Medical Records?

You already know that the primary responsibility for providing medical proof of disability undoubtedly rests with the claimant. But does the plan administrator sometimes have an obligation to obtain medical records and...more

Third Circuit Limits ERISA Fiduciary Liability

Former and current annuity holders sued John Hancock Life Insurance Company in New Jersey federal court several years ago, alleging that, as a service provider to their 401(k) plans, John Hancock was an ERISA fiduciary and...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - December 2014

This month's newsletter focuses on how Plan Trustees can appropriately settle ERISA breach of fiduciary duty claims in order to achieve "complete peace." The article provides a check list and discusses strategies for handling...more

DOL 2014 Fall Regulatory Agenda

Introduction - The Department of Labor has released the 2014 Fall Regulatory Agenda. The updated agenda provides the anticipated publication dates for the next steps in the regulatory process for nearly a dozen ERISA...more

ERISA Fiduciaries Have a Duty to Inform

SUMMARY: In this case, the court found that the employer, serving as plan administrator of a group life insurance plan providing basic and supplemental coverage, may be liable for monetary damages for breach of its fiduciary...more

Federal District Court Dismisses “100% Equity Strategy” Claims on Statute of Limitations Grounds

A federal district court held that participants in a defined benefit plan had standing to challenge plan fiduciaries’ strategy of investing 100% of the plan’s assets in equities, but dismissed those claims based on ERISA’s...more

Procedural Errors Don’t Alter Standard of Review In ERISA Claim for Benefits

The Ninth Circuit recently held that where an ERISA plan provides the plan administrator discretionary authority to determine benefit claims, procedural violations that occur during the course of the administrative claims...more

IRS Guidance on Windsor Decision May Require End-of-Year Amendments for Qualified Retirement Plans

Earlier this year, the IRS published updated guidance on the application of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor to qualified retirement plans. In Windsor, the Court held that the Defense of Marriage Act’s...more

Tenth Circuit Finds Plan Administrator Has No Duty to Inquire into Authenticity of Participant’s Beneficiary Designation

Plaintiff Kristopher Towles, the son of a deceased participant of a life insurance plan, challenged the plan’s decision to pay the life insurance proceeds to the deceased’s husband, contending that the beneficiary form...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - October 2014

Editor's Overview - The first article in this month's newsletter focuses on whether specific language in ERISA employer-provided disability insurance plans confer discretionary authority to plan administrators to...more

Read the 5500 before E-Filing It.

Now is the time that plan sponsors who are on extension to file their Form 5500 should be receiving them via email from their third party administrator (TPA). While plan sponsors just immediately file them to get it...more

ERISA: 2nd Circuit — Tough to Appeal District Court’s ERISA Remand Order

What happens when the district court orders a remand to the ERISA plan administrator? Can you appeal it? It depends on the circuit. FACTS: Mead sought ERISA-governed long term disability benefits, which were...more

Trustee Travel Expense Reimbursements

Taft-Hartley plan trustees must stay up to date on the most recent rules and regulations regarding plan administration. One of the best places to be educated on the legislative framework governing collectively bargained...more

Proactive Steps Retirement Plan Sponsors Should Take

Retirement plan sponsors have a lot of headaches and liability because of their role as plan fiduciaries. They can sit back and do nothing, thereby increasing their potential liability. They can also be proactive and take...more

Update: Alberta Pension Legislation Presents New Obligations and Opportunities

As discussed in our July 2014 Blakes Bulletin: Alberta’s New Pension Legislation to Take Effect September 1, 2014, the Alberta government has announced that the new Employment Pension Plans Act (New Act) and its associated...more

Accepting Rollover Contributions Now Easier - and Less Risky - For Retirement Plans

The administrative burden of determining the validity of rollover contributions to qualified retirement plans, and the associated risk of jeopardizing the plan’s tax-qualified status, traditionally has been a significant...more

Fiduciary Notice Obligations Associated with Change of Carriers

This case discusses the fiduciary obligation of plan administrators to inform participants in advance of ERISA’s statutory notice periods regarding the potential impact caused by a change of life insurance carrier under a...more

Advisors Advantage - August 2014

Dealing with adversity. It's about how you deal with it. I'm a huge Aerosmith fan since high school and it's because the music resonates with me because it reminds me of the experiences that I have gone through...more

Rethinking COBRA After Health Care Reform

The Health Care Reform Act made many changes to health plans, but one thing it did not do was expressly eliminate or change the COBRA rules. Although health care reform does not expressly change COBRA, it does, in many ways,...more

Revenue Sharing is becoming the 401(k) Leisure Suit

When I was a child, I remember bringing the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever for my first grade class’ Chanukah party (I went to a Jewish day school). To this day, I still don’t how to operate a record player. Around the...more

Plan Sponsor Should Avoid These Retirement Plan Provider “Con Games”

The George Clooney-Brad Pitt trilogy of heist films known as Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, and Ocean’s Thirteen were remembered for their twist endings, stylish pacing, and lightheartedness. Since the Ocean gang were...more

De Facto Plan Administrator Claims in the First Circuit

According to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(c)(1)(B) of ERISA, it is within a court’s discretion to award a penalty of up to $110 per day based on an administrator’s failure to comply with a plan participant’s or beneficiary’s request for...more

Advisors Advantage - July 2014

If they made the poor Plan decisions, they may take offense on your criticism. They will take offense. Two years ago, I had the worst call with a prospective client in the 14 years I have been an ERISA attorney...more

A 401(k) Financial Advisor Shouldn’t Refer a TPA Just Because They’re Cheap

Animal Farm by George Orwell was a clever allegory of the Bolshevik Revolution and the Soviet Union where the oppressed animals overthrew Farmer Mr. Jones, only to start oppress- ing each other. A similar situation is when I...more

Sixth Circuit Addresses Plan Assets and Limitations Issues in Holding Service Provider’s Fee Assessments Constituted Self-Dealing

The Sixth Circuit held in Hi-Lex Controls, Inc. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan that a service provider was liable as a fiduciary under ERISA for unauthorized fees it assessed against a self-funded health plan. In...more

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