Mealey's ERISA

  • July 05, 2024

    Pro Se Litigant’s Disability Suit Was Properly Dismissed, 6th Circuit Affirms

    CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 3 affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a pro se disability claimant’s suit after determining that the claimant was afforded the opportunity to allege claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act but failed to do so in accordance with the district court’s directives.

  • July 05, 2024

    Failure To Consider Cognitive Issues Was Abuse Of Discretion, Federal Judge Says

    BALTIMORE — A Maryland federal judge determined that a disability insurer abused its discretion in terminating a disability claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits because the insurer failed to consider how the claimant’s cognitive issues affect her ability to work in her regular occupation.

  • July 03, 2024

    Termination Of LTD Benefits Not Arbitrary, Capricious, Ohio Federal Judge Says

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A disability insurer’s termination of long-term disability (LTD) benefits after paying benefits for 19 years was not arbitrary and capricious because substantial evidence supports the finding that the claimant was no longer disabled from performing the duties of any occupation and the claimant failed to identify any evidence showing that the termination was arbitrary and capricious, an Ohio federal judge said in granting the disability insurer’s motion for judgment on the administrative record.

  • July 03, 2024

    Intervention Allowed In 1 Challenge To DOL Investment Advice Fiduciary Rule

    FORT WORTH, Texas — With a Texas federal judge’s permission, two trade associations filed an intervenor complaint in one of two similar suits seeking to have a new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rule that redefines and broadens who is an investment advice fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act vacated.

  • July 03, 2024

    After Evidence Of Insurability Probes, DOL Reports Settlements With Life Insurers

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Saying in a news release that “[i]nvestigations into other life insurance companies’ practices surrounding evidence of insurability [EOI] are ongoing,” the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced two settlements in which its investigations were resolved by life insurers’ agreements to follow certain procedures.

  • July 01, 2024

    Challengers Of ESG Investing Rule Notify 5th Circuit Of Loper Bright Ruling

    NEW ORLEANS — In their same-day notice of supplemental authority regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 28 Loper Bright Enters. v. Raimondo decision, challengers of a 2022 U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) investment rule concerning environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors argue to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the rule’s tiebreaker provision should be struck down in light of the ruling.

  • June 28, 2024

    Bench Trial Starts In ERISA Suit Over Spin-Off That Affected Retirement Benefits

    PHILADELPHIA — A bench trial has begun in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action over corporate restructuring that affected early retirement and optional retirement benefits after a Pennsylvania federal judge denied summary judgment on all but one claim.

  • June 28, 2024

    High Court Overrules Chevron Deference, Changes Standard For Regulatory Review

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 28 voted 6-3 to overrule the doctrine of Chevron deference as incompatible with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in two cases arising out of federal fishing regulations, changing governing precedent for federal courts reviewing agencies’ regulatory actions.

  • June 27, 2024

    10th Circuit Dismisses ERISA Appeal Over Injunction That Removed Fiduciaries

    DENVER — Ruling that a later order in the case made the interlocutory appeal moot, a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel dismissed a challenge to a preliminary injunction that removed the administrator and trustee of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) from their positions as fiduciaries.

  • June 26, 2024

    Bench Trial Yields Ruling Against Class In ERISA Target Risk Funds Challenge

    SEATTLE — Ruling against a class of Milliman Inc. retirement plan participants after an eight-day bench trial, a Washington federal judge concluded that retaining three “target risk” funds in the plan “was both procedurally and substantively prudent” and the class didn’t “offer a plausible estimate of any loss suffered by the Plan.”

  • June 25, 2024

    Termination Of LTD Benefits Supported By Evidence In Administrative Record

    BOSTON — A disability insurer’s termination of a claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits was not arbitrary and capricious, a Massachusetts federal judge concluded June 24 after determining that the evidence in the administrative record clearly supports the insurer’s finding that the claimant was no longer disabled from performing the duties of any occupation.

  • June 25, 2024

    Judge: No Private Right Of Action In CARES Act For COVID Test Reimbursement

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on June 24 granted a consolidated motion to dismiss filed by a group of health insurers in lawsuits brought by a COVID-19 testing lab seeking reimbursement for testing it claims the insurers should have paid for on behalf of its insureds during the pandemic.

  • June 25, 2024

    DOL Reports To Congress On Its Review Of Pension Risk Transfer Guidance

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a June 24 report to Congress noting the increasing use of pension risk transfers (PRTs) and the growth of reinsurance activity in the life insurance industry, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) said more exploration is needed before deciding whether some factors in guidance it issued nearly three decades ago “need revision or supplementation and whether additional guidance should be developed.”

  • June 25, 2024

    Petitioners Urge U.S. High Court To Review Split 9th Circuit EAJA Fee Denial

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The government has been granted more time to respond to a certiorari petition in which an engineering firm and the individuals who owned it before an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) deal that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) unsuccessfully challenged argue that denial of their Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) request for attorney fees and nontaxable costs “deepens confusion among the lower courts and creates a circuit split on a matter of great practical importance.”

  • June 24, 2024

    7th Circuit OKs Appeal On Representative Capacity Question In ERISA Row

    CHICAGO — Without explanation, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel allowed an interlocutory appeal regarding what the petitioner argues is a question of first impression for the circuit regarding whether a plaintiff whose class certification motion was denied due to conflict within the proposed class can pursue plan-wide relief in a representative capacity under provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • June 24, 2024

    Attorney Fees In ERISA Class Settlement Are Cut To 30% Of $6.1M Common Fund

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Granting final approval of a $6.1 million class settlement over alleged mismanagement of a retirement plan, an Alabama federal judge awarded attorney fees of $1.83 million rather than the requested $2,033,333.13.

  • June 24, 2024

    Class Counsel Get A Third Of $6M Settlement In Case Over Bank’s Former ESOP

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Granting final approval of a $6 million settlement in an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) case that the plaintiff estimated will give dozens of class members awards averaging more than $30,000, a Virginia federal judge approved paying from that total $2 million for attorney fees plus $104,186.34 for litigation costs.

  • June 24, 2024

    States, Other Amici Back Review Bid For Ruling That PBM Law Is Partly Preempted

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Five recently filed amicus curiae briefs urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and Medicare Part D partially preempt an Oklahoma pharmaceutical benefit manager (PBM) law include one from dozens of states and one from “a broad coalition of pharmacists and pharmacy owners.”

  • June 21, 2024

    Summary Judgment Bid Fails In ERISA Row Focused On Fund Managers’ ESG Efforts

    FORT WORTH, Texas — A bench trial is scheduled to start June 24 in a high-profile class action over environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations and the purported proxy voting activism of investment management firms, with a Texas federal judge denying the defendants’ summary judgment motion on June 20.

  • June 21, 2024

    Claimant Failed To Meet Burden Of Showing He Is Disabled From Own Occupation

    CONCORD, N.H. — A disability claimant is not entitled to long-term disability (LTD) benefits because he failed to meet his burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that he is disabled as a result of narcolepsy from performing the duties of his own occupation, a New Hampshire federal judge said in denying the claimant’s motion for judgment on the administrative record and in granting the disability insurer’s motion for judgment on the administrative record.

  • June 21, 2024

    Disability Suit Dismissed For Failure To Timely File Suit, Exhaust All Benefits

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A disability claimant’s suit against a disability insurer and employer must be dismissed because the claim based on a denial of short-term disability (STD) benefits is barred by the disability plan’s one-year limitations period for filing suit and the claim based on a denial of long-term disability (LTD) benefits cannot proceed based on the claimant’s failure to exhaust all available STD benefits under the plan, a Tennessee federal judge said.

  • June 21, 2024

    Termination Of Benefits Under Any-Occupation Standard Was Reasonable, Judge Says

    COLUMBIA, Tenn. — A Tennessee federal judge adopted a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation to grant a disability insurer’s motion for judgment on the administrative record, agreeing with the magistrate judge’s finding that the disability insurer’s decision to terminate the claimant’s benefits was reasonable and not arbitrary and capricious.

  • June 20, 2024

    Termination Of LTD Benefits Was Not Abuse Of Discretion, Arizona Federal Judge Says

    PRESCOTT, Ariz. — A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in terminating a long-term disability (LTD) benefits claim because the termination was reasonable based on a lack of medical evidence in support of the claim, an Arizona federal judge said in entering judgment for the insurer.

  • June 19, 2024

    Former NFL Player’s Appeal Dismissed By 11th Circuit For Want Of Prosecution

    ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 18 dismissed a former National Football League player’s appeal in a dispute over additional disability benefits for want of prosecution because the former NFL player failed to file required disclosures and forms as required by the court.

  • June 19, 2024

    2nd Dismissal Ruling In ERISA Forfeiture Reallocation Cases Disagrees With 1st

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — Taking issue with the only other dismissal ruling in recent Employee Retirement Income Security Act cases filed against retirement plan sponsors for allegedly not putting forfeited nonvested matching contributions toward administrative expenses, a California federal judge granted dismissal with leave to amend a complaint that she called “a swing for the fences.”

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