Mealey's ERISA

  • April 24, 2024

    DOL Finalizes New Rule On Who Is An Investment Advice Fiduciary Under ERISA

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration on April 23 revealed the final Retirement Security Rule updating and expanding the regulatory definition of an investment advice fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • April 24, 2024

    Alcoa, Independent Fiduciary Are Sued Under ERISA For Pension Risk Transfers

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In what is at least the fourth putative class case filed in the past month challenging pension risk transfers (PRTs), retirees sued Alcoa Corp., related entities and an independent fiduciary in a District of Columbia federal court over four transactions they argue improperly “offloaded over $2 billion of Alcoa’s pension obligations.”

  • April 24, 2024

    Minnesota Federal Court: ERISA Record-Keeping Claims Meet Matousek Requirement

    MINNEAPOLIS — Claims relating to a 401(k) plan’s bundled record-keeping and administrative (RKA) fees that allegedly averaged $29 survive dismissal in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act case where the plaintiffs relied on participant fee disclosures, a Minnesota federal judge ruled.

  • April 24, 2024

    Parties Outline Positions After Summary Judgment Denial In ERISA Funds Row

    SAN FRANCISCO — After a California federal judge denied the defendants’ motions for summary judgment and to exclude expert testimony, the parties filed a corrected joint pretrial statement outlining their positions in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action over the allegedly imprudent retention of certain funds.

  • April 23, 2024

    J&J Seeks Dismissal Of ERISA Fiduciary Breach Suit Over Drug Benefits

    CAMDEN, N.J. — Arguing in part that the sponsor of the self-funded health plans at issue “has every incentive to negotiate the best overall deal,” Johnson and Johnson (J&J) and related defendants asked a New Jersey federal court to dismiss the complaint and strike the jury demand in a putative class case asserting Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims over alleged “mismanagement of prescription-drug benefits.”

  • April 23, 2024

    Judge Dismisses Funds’ ERISA Suit Against Administrative Service Providers

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Ruling that the trustees of two multiemployer, self-funded welfare benefit funds had standing to sue administrative service providers but “do not plausibly allege that Defendants exercise or possess[] discretionary authority required to be” fiduciaries under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a Connecticut judge dismissed the case without prejudice on April 22.

  • April 23, 2024

    Disability Insurer’s Benefits Termination Not Supported By Medical Evidence

    MINNEAPOLIS — A disability insurer’s termination of long-term disability (LTD) benefits is not supported by the medical evidence, a Minnesota federal judge said in granting the claimant’s motion for judgment on the administrative record and denying the insurer’s motion for judgment on the administrative record.

  • April 22, 2024

    Michigan Federal Judge Dismisses ERISA Case Over Outdated Mortality Tables

    DETROIT — Saying he “sympathizes with Plaintiffs’ position” but agrees with the defendants’ “statutory interpretation analysis,” a Michigan federal judge dismissed with prejudice a putative class suit in which Kellogg Co. retirees argued that using outdated assumptions and mortality tables to calculate pension benefits violates the actuarial equivalence requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • April 19, 2024

    U.S. Supreme Court Seeks Response To Review Bid For 2nd Circuit ERISA Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — After Cornell University and related entities said they didn’t plan to file a brief unless asked, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an April 18 request for a response to a certiorari petition in which retirement plan participants argue that of two 2023 decisions that amplified a “preexisting circuit split” over Employee Retirement Income Security Act pleading standards for prohibited-transaction claims, the ruling against them “is the superior vehicle for review.”

  • April 18, 2024

    2nd Circuit Affirms $13M Ruling For Multiemployer Fund In Withdrawal Liability Row

    NEW YORK — In a per curiam opinion upholding confirmation of a roughly $13 million award, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel agreed with an arbitrator that the appellant’s predecessor “was not operating in the business and construction industry” and so didn’t quality for an exemption from withdrawal liability under part of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • April 18, 2024

    Judge Says Claims Against Disability Plan, Claims Administrator Can Proceed

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri federal judge denied a motion to dismiss filed by disability plan defendants after determining that the claim for wrongful denial of benefits against the claims administrator can proceed because the plan delegated fiduciary discretion to the claims administrator and the claim for breach of fiduciary duty alleged against the plan and the claims administrator can proceed because the claim is not duplicative of the wrongful denial of benefits claim.

  • April 17, 2024

    LTD Claim Excluded By Policy’s Preexisting Condition Exclusion, 9th Circuit Says

    PASADENA, Calif. — A district court did not err in entering judgment in favor of a disability insurer because the long-term disability (LTD) policy’s preexisting condition exclusion barred coverage as the disability claimant received medical treatment for symptoms related to the claimed disability within three months prior to the effective date of coverage of the policy, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said.

  • April 17, 2024

    Attorney Fee In ERISA Record-Keeping Suit Is Cut To 1/4 Of $4.1M Settlement

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Adopting the approach to attorney fees used in a 2014 decision in a different Employee Retirement Income Security Act case, a Connecticut federal judge on April 16 awarded class counsel a quarter of a $4.1 million class settlement with Xerox Corp. and its retirement plan committee rather than the requested third.

  • April 15, 2024

    5th Circuit Reverses Dismissal Of ERISA Imprudence Suit Over Fees, Share Classes

    NEW ORLEANS — In an unpublished opinion reversing dismissal of a putative class Employee Retirement Income Security Act fees and funds challenge, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled an imprudence claim plausible “in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in [Hughes v. Northwestern University (Hughes I)] and circuit court decisions addressing similar allegations.”

  • April 15, 2024

    Blue Cross: Claim Denials Done With Plan In Mind, Not Discriminatory Intent

    PASADENA, Calif. — A third-party administrator tells the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an April 12 opening brief that it was simply fulfilling its fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when it denied claims for transgender care and cannot be held liable under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for any allegedly discriminatory plan details.

  • April 15, 2024

    U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review Bid Over 4th Circuit ERISA Surcharge Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on April 15 declined to review a case over a heart transplant denial, which concerns whether surcharge is available under an Employee Retirement Income Security Act provision that allows equitable relief.

  • April 15, 2024

    Class Deal Of Nearly $4M Gets Final OK In ERISA Suit Over 401(k) Fees, Funds

    ATLANTA — A Georgia federal judge has granted final approval to a $3,925,000 class settlement in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act case where the plaintiffs alleged mismanagement of a 401(k) plan.

  • April 15, 2024

    Parties Stipulate To Certification Of Large Class In ERISA Retirement Case

    NEWARK, N.J. — The remaining parties in a suit over a retirement plan’s fees and funds and service providers’ purported use of participants’ confidential data in cross-selling have stipulated to certification of a large mandatory class and subclass in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act case.

  • April 12, 2024

    Multiemployer Pension Funds Lose Arbitration Bids In Bankruptcy Cases

    WILMINGTON, Del. — Denying multiemployer funds’ motions to compel arbitration over purported withdrawal liability totaling $7.8 billion, a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge ruled that the claims in the Chapter 11 cases of trucking company Yellow Corp. and its affiliates “should be liquidated through the claims allowance process in this Court” and that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) “raises important questions, but they are premature.”

  • April 12, 2024

    9th Circuit Discusses Parity Act Pleading Standard In Partly Reviving ERISA Case

    PASADENA, Calif. — Addressing “what pleading standard applies to cases alleging an improper internal process” under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA or Parity Act), a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 11 partly reversed dismissal of a putative class case over mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) treatment coverage.

  • April 12, 2024

    Failure To Offer Proof Of Continued Disability Supports Termination, Plan Says

    PHILADELPHIA — A disability claimant’s failure to provide proof of a continued disability when her long-term disability (LTD) benefits were terminated supports the reasonableness of the disability plan’s termination of benefits and warrants the reversal of a district court’s judgment in favor of the claimant, the disability plan maintains in its appellant reply brief filed in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

  • April 10, 2024

    District Court Must Hold Bench Trial Based On Fact Issues In Disability Suit

    RICHMOND, Va. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 9 vacated and remanded a district court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of a disability insurer after determining that the lower court was required to hold a bench trial based on a Fourth Circuit ruling, issued after the district court’s decision, that clarifies the need for a bench trial in cases where issues of material fact are in dispute.

  • April 09, 2024

    6th Circuit Affirms Rulings In Professional Liability Coverage Dispute

    CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 8 affirmed a lower federal court’s summary judgment rulings in a professional liability coverage dispute arising from a financial adviser insured’s valuations for a bankrupt paper manufacturing company and its Employee Stock Ownership Plan, finding that the insurer had a duty to defend its insured until only claims falling under a policy exclusion remained and that the insured has to reimburse the insurer for defending it after the same exclusion applied.

  • April 09, 2024

    Cornell Waives Response To Review Bid For ERISA Prohibited Transaction Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Cornell University and related respondents have waived their right to respond to a certiorari petition in which retirement plan participants tell the U.S. Supreme Court that of two 2023 decisions that amplified a “preexisting circuit split” over Employee Retirement Income Security Act pleading standards for prohibited-transaction claims, the ruling against them “is the superior vehicle for review.”

  • April 09, 2024

    Parties Dispute Summary Judgment Issues In ERISA Suit Over ESG Factors

    FORT WORTH, Texas — In a reply brief supporting summary judgment in a putative class case concerning environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations and the purported proxy voting activism of investment management firms, American Airlines Inc. and a related defendant reiterate their contentions that the plaintiff’s theories fail for reasons including that he can’t prove any loss to the retirement plans at issue.

Can't find the article you're looking for? Click here to search the Mealey's ERISA archive.