Supreme Court of the United States Employee Benefits

The United States Supreme Court is the highest court of the United States and is charged with interpreting federal law, including the United States Constitution. The Court's docket is largely discretionary... more +
The United States Supreme Court is the highest court of the United States and is charged with interpreting federal law, including the United States Constitution. The Court's docket is largely discretionary with only a limited number of cases granted review each term.  The Court is comprised of one chief justice and eight associate justices, who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate to hold lifetime positions. less -
News & Analysis as of

Retiree Health Benefits Case Remanded to District Court for Additional Fact Finding

On remand from the Supreme Court, the Sixth Circuit sent the parties in Tackett v. M&G Polymers USA, LLC back to the district court for additional factual determinations on whether the retirees who commenced the lawsuit had...more

Supreme Court Interprets ERISA to Limit Remedies Available to Plans to Subrogate and Recover Overpayments

Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan is the fourth decision by the U.S. Supreme Court addressing the subrogation rights of self-insured ERISA-covered health plans. Three...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

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

Recent Supreme Court Decision Limits ERISA Plans’ Ability to Recover Benefits Paid to Injured Employees Who Later Receive...

It’s a common scenario when dealing with a benefit plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA): an employee participating in the plan is injured by a third-party, the plan pays covered medical...more

Supreme Court Issues Further Clarification on Equitable Relief Remedies Available Under ERISA

ERISA Section 502(a)(3) empowers plan fiduciaries to file suit “to obtain … appropriate equitable relief … to enforce … the terms of the plan.” In 1993, the Supreme Court of the United States interpreted this ERISA provision...more

Supreme Court: Health Plan Recovery Of Expenses Can Be Thwarted By Spendthrift Participant

In an 8-1 decision issued yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a health plan’s right of recovery against a plan participant who obtains an award from a third party found responsible for the participant’s injuries can...more

U.S. Supreme Court Limits ERISA Plan’s Subrogation Rights Where Participants Have Dissipated Funds Recovered from Third Parties –...

Over the years, the U.S. Supreme Court from time to time has explored the scope of equitable relief available under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) in circumstances where an employee benefit plan...more

IRS Guidance on Employee Benefits Implications of Supreme Court Obergefell Decision on Same-Sex Marriage

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued Notice 2015-86, which provides some additional clarification, in the form of questions and answers, on the treatment of same-sex spouses under tax-qualified retirement plans...more

SCOTUS Rejects Plan’s Right to Dissipated Assets

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that an ERISA plan has no right to recover benefits paid on behalf of a participant where the participant has already dissipated settlement funds received from a third party. In...more

U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Montanile Applies Principles of Equity to Reach an Absurdly Inequitable Result Regarding ERISA Plan...

“A” gets hit by a drunk driver and incurs $121,044 in medical expenses. The ERISA Plan agrees to pay the expenses if “A” contractually agrees to reimburse the Plan for any recovery obtained as the result of any legal action...more

Supreme Court Provides More Guidance Regarding Health Plan Subrogation Claims

On January 20, 2016, the Supreme Court handed down yet another case addressing health plan subrogation. From the Supreme Court’s earlier decision in Sereboff v. Mid Atlantic Medical Services, Inc. (547 U.S. 356) (2006),...more

Supreme Court Rules No ERISA Plan Recovery of Nontraceable Settlement Funds

In Montanile v. Bd. of Trs. of the Nat'l Elevator Indus. Health Benefit Plan, the U.S. Supreme Court on January 19 held that when an ERISA plan participant wholly dissipates a third-party settlement on nontraceable items, a...more

Supreme Court Limits ERISA Plans' Reimbursement Rights

In Montanile v. National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan (January 20, 2016), the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to ERISA plans that seek to recover health benefits paid to participants who sustain injuries caused by...more

Bad News for ERISA Plan Reimbursements: Chase The Money Before Settlement Funds Dissipate, Supreme Court Rules

This just in…. A big debate was resolved today by the United States Supreme Court: Can an ERISA plan sue to recover medical expenses paid on the participant’s behalf after the settlement funds have dissipated?...more

Supreme Court Decides Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan

On January 20, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan, No. 14-723, holding that where an ERISA-plan participant has dissipated a third-party...more

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Advisory: Staying on the Compliance Track: The 2015 Health Benefits Year in Review

In a year-end flurry of activity, Congress adopted major tax and spending legislation, which was signed into law on Friday, December 18 by President Obama. The legislation, called the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016...more

IRS Issues Guidance on Application of Obergefell Decision to Benefit Plans

This past June, the United States Supreme Court held in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 2584 (2015), that the Fourteenth Amendment (i) requires a state’s civil marriage laws to apply to same-sex couples on the...more

Avoiding Discrimination Claims After Obergefell

In June 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its long-awaited opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, striking down bans on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional and legalizing same-sex marriage in every state (135 S....more

Treasury and the IRS Issue Proposed Regulations Implementing Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

In recent guidance, the Department of Treasury and the IRS issued proposed rules that clarify under the Internal Revenue Code (Code) that the terms “spouse” and “husband” and “wife” refer to individuals who are lawfully...more

Employee Benefits – Do Employers Owe a 401(k) Fiduciary Duty?

Back in July, we discussed how Jed Clampett of Mama’s Fried Pies caused his VP of marketing Elly May to suffer exorbitant taxes due to a deferred bonus that he offered.  This month, Jed finds himself again in the grease with...more

Seventh Circuit Rules ERISA Does Not Preempt State Law Prohibiting Discretionary Clauses

In Fontaine v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., No. 14-1984, 2015 U.S. App. (7th Cir. Sept. 4, 2015), the Seventh Circuit affirmed a U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois decision holding that Illinois’s...more

Civil Unions in NJ – What you Need to Know.

Same-sex couples now have the right to marry, and neither the federal nor any state government can deny anyone that right. On June 26, 2013 – a watershed moment in the history of the law and our nation – the U.S. Supreme...more

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