Mealey's ERISA

  • May 29, 2024

    COMMENTARY: U.S. Supreme Court Limits Appeals From Decisions Enforcing Arbitration Agreements

    By David N. Cinotti

  • May 30, 2024

    Retirees Urge Denial Of Dismissal Motion In ERISA Pension Risk Transfer Case

    GREENBELT, Md. — Calling Thole v. U.S. Bank. N.A. “entirely distinguishable,” Lockheed Martin Corp. retirees urged a Maryland federal court to deny dismissal of their suit, which is one of a quartet of similar recent putative class actions challenging pension risk transfers (PRTs) under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • May 30, 2024

    Defendants Are Granted Taxable Costs In ERISA Record-Keeping Fees Row

    DES MOINES, Iowa — Following summary judgment in their favor in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action over 401(k) record-keeping fees in Iowa federal court, grocery chain Hy-Vee Inc. and related defendants were granted taxable costs totaling $53,319.87, including $40,232.83 for discovery of electronically stored information (ESI), on May 29.

  • May 29, 2024

    Dismissal Bid Fails In 1 ERISA Lawsuit Over Forfeiture Reallocation

    SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge has denied dismissal in one of the handful of recent Employee Retirement Income Security Act cases filed against retirement plan sponsors for allegedly not putting forfeited nonvested matching contributions toward administrative expenses.

  • May 29, 2024

    No Gender Dysphoria Standards Exist; Ruling Creates Uncertainty, Amici Say

    PASADENA, Calif. — Amici curiae warned the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that there was no consensus on the proper standard of care for gender dysphoria and that a ruling below holding a third-party administrator who denied coverage liable for violating the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s discrimination provision threated to create a “problematic” situation full of uncertainty for self-insured Employee Retirement Income Security Act plans.

  • May 29, 2024

    California Federal Judge Orders Individual Arbitration In ERISA Forfeiture Lawsuit

    LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge has compelled individual arbitration in one of the handful of recent cases filed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act against retirement plan sponsors for allegedly not putting forfeited funds toward administrative expenses.

  • May 28, 2024

    $3.5M Settlement In ERISA Imprudence Suit Over TDFs, Another Fund Gets Initial OK

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on May 24 granted preliminary approval of a $3.5 million class settlement to resolve retirement plan participants’ Employee Retirement Income Security Act suit challenging the use of target-date funds (TDFs) and another investment option.

  • May 28, 2024

    DOL’s New Investment Advice Fiduciary Rule Draws 2nd Lawsuit In Federal Court

    FORT WORTH, Texas — In a May 24 complaint in Texas federal court, several “associations that represent life insurance companies, insurance agents, brokers, and distributors” seek 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.

  • May 28, 2024

    Judge Certifies Class In ESG Row Focused On Proxy Voting, Shareholder Activism

    FORT WORTH, Texas — Rejecting numerous arguments advanced by American Airlines Inc. and a related defendant in a suit over environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations and the purported proxy voting activism of investment management firms, a Texas federal judge granted certification of a narrowed class that reflects the decision to drop one theory of liability.

  • May 24, 2024

    $3.25M Settlement Gets Final OK In ERISA Imprudence Case Over Retirement Plans

    BALTIMORE — Resolving an Employee Retirement Income Security Act suit over use of the GoalMaker asset allocation service and other aspects of a Maryland hospital system’s retirement plans, a Maryland federal judge on May 23 granted final approval to a $3.25 million class settlement and awarded a third of that as attorney fees.

  • May 24, 2024

    Addressing Jurisdiction, 2nd Circuit Issues Mixed Ruling In ERISA Arbitration Case

    NEW YORK — Rejecting an “eleventh-hour jurisdictional attack,” a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel partly upheld confirmation of an arbitration award against a private investment manager — including more than $22 million in prejudgment interest — but vacated the challenged judgment as to disgorgement of profits and payment of certain attorney fees and costs.

  • May 22, 2024

    Injunction Sought In Suit Over DOL’s New Rule On Investment Advice Fiduciaries

    TYLER, Texas — In a suit challenging 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, trade organization Federation of Americans for Consumer Choice Inc. (FACC) and the other plaintiffs moved in Texas federal court on May 21 to stay the effective date and obtain a preliminary injunction.

  • May 22, 2024

    High Court Urged To Review Withdrawal Liability Ruling, Resolve Assumptions Split

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Seeking U.S. Supreme Court review on a Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act (MPPAA) decision that created a circuit split on “a narrow but very important question,” employers use March Madness to criticize a “wildly impractical” that they say allows retroactive changes to “actuarial assumptions after the measurement date to increase a withdrawing employer’s withdrawal liability.”

  • May 22, 2024

    Complete Administrative Record Needed To Review Denial Of LTD Claim, Judge Says

    PORTLAND, Ore. — A disability claimant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings must be denied because the claimant submitted only portions of the administrative record, an Oregon federal judge said, noting that the complete administrative record, as reviewed by the plan administrator, is necessary to judicially review the plan administrator’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits decision.

  • May 22, 2024

    Retirees Lose 2nd Circuit ERISA Bid For Retroactive Early Pension Benefits

    NEW YORK — A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel issued a summary order upholding two decisions against retirees who sought retroactive early pension benefits in a putative class action, including a decision under which submission of an election form resulted in only forward-looking benefits.

  • May 21, 2024

    ERISA Residual Annuities Class Action Is Headed Back To 2nd Circuit

    NEW YORK — After a New York federal judge entered final judgment for the class on remand in a long-running Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action over residual annuities, Colgate-Palmolive Co. and related defendants filed a notice of appeal.

  • May 20, 2024

    $3.5M Deal Proposed In ERISA Imprudence Suit Over TDFs, Another Fund

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — Retirement plan participants have asked a North Carolina federal court for preliminary approval of a $3.5 million class settlement that would resolve their Employee Retirement Income Security Act suit over what they allege are “objectively imprudent investment options.”

  • May 17, 2024

    Ruling Comparisons Sufficient, 3rd Circuit Vacates ERISA Imprudence Case Dismissal

    PHILADELPHIA — In a May 16 opinion largely focused on record-keeping fees, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel vacated dismissal of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act imprudence complaint that it said a lower court found didn’t compare “‘apples to apples,’” ruling that under “close examination,” the comparisons “are sufficient to plausibly state a claim.”

  • May 17, 2024

    U.S. High Court Review Sought For Ruling That Parts Of State PBM Law Are Preempted

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Arguing that a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling “ignored” the message of Rutledge v. Pharm. Care Mgmt. Ass'n and created two circuit splits, Oklahoma regulators petitioned 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.

  • May 16, 2024

    Missouri Officials Win Deposition Dispute In Row Over ESG Factor Rules

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A trade association lost a discovery dispute in its challenge to new Missouri rules that it says require “a state-authored script” for “incorporating a social or nonfinancial objective into investment advice,” with a Missouri federal judge on May 15 rejecting its request to depose Missouri Secretary of State John R. Ashcroft.

  • May 16, 2024

    U.S. High Court:  With Request, Arbitrable Dispute Must Be Stayed, Not Dismissed

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A case involving an arbitrable dispute must be stayed and not dismissed pending arbitration where a party has requested a stay, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled May 16 in a case brought by delivery drivers against the individual owners and managers of Intelliserve and related corporate entities (together, Intelliserve).

  • May 14, 2024

    Life Insurance Benefit Not Available Based On Failure To Prove Total Disability

    PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 13 affirmed a district court’s finding that a life insurance waiver-of-premium benefit was properly terminated because the claimant failed to show that he was totally disabled from working in any occupation as required by the life insurance plan to retain the waiver-of-premium benefit.

  • May 14, 2024

    Retaliation, Other ERISA Claims Decided For Last Defendants In QDRO Dispute

    SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge granted summary judgment for an employer and its 401(k) plan on retaliation and all other remaining claims in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act dispute centering on a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), closing the case.

  • May 13, 2024

    Petition On 9th Circuit ERISA Prohibited Transaction Ruling Draws Amicus Brief

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Filing an amicus curiae brief urging U.S. Supreme Court review of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s prohibited transaction provision, entities including the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) agree with retirement plan fiduciaries that the ruling is problematic and “deepens an existing circuit split.”

  • May 13, 2024

    High Court Won’t Review 5th Circuit ERISA Prohibited Transaction Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on May 13 turned down the first of three recent certiorari petitions concerning prohibited transactions under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, denying a review request pertaining to a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision.

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