Mealey's ERISA

  • April 05, 2024

    8th Circuit Argument Set In ERISA Imprudence Dispute Over Pleading Standard

    ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has set oral argument for April 9 in retirement plan participants’ bid to revive their dismissed Employee Retirement Income Security Act case, with the key issue being whether the pleading standard in Matousek v. MidAmerican Energy Co. was met.

  • April 05, 2024

    Entities DOL Sued Over ESOP Deal Want To Appeal 9th Circuit Fee Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — An engineering firm and the individuals who owned it before an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) deal were given a June 6 deadline to seek U.S. Supreme Court review of an Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) ruling declining to make the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) pay attorney fees and nontaxable costs for its unsuccessful case against them.

  • April 05, 2024

    Bench Trial Results In Class Win In ERISA Suit Over Retirement Plan Conversion

    HOUSTON — Following a bench trial in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action over the 1989 conversion of a retirement plan, a Texas federal judge has found that the plaintiffs “are entitled to equitable relief” in an amount yet to be determined.

  • April 05, 2024

    Defendants Win Dismissal Of ERISA Suit That Followed $30.9M Class Settlement

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A Massachusetts federal judge has granted dismissal of a follow-up Employee Retirement Income Security Act suit over retirement plan fees and proprietary funds, ruling in part that the class settlement of the prior case limits the claims.

  • April 04, 2024

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

    ST. LOUIS — A disability plan’s termination of a claimant’s long-term disability benefits was not an abuse of discretion because the decision was reasonable based on the objective medical evidence, a Missouri federal judge said in partially granting the plan’s motion for summary judgment.

  • April 04, 2024

    Disability Insurer Must Reinstate Claimant’s LTD Benefits, Judge Says

    MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota federal judge ordered a disability insurer to reinstate a claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits after determining that the insurer failed to show that a lack of objective medical evidence supported its termination of benefits.

  • April 03, 2024

    Panel: Court Properly Found Termination Of Benefits Was Not Arbitrary, Capricious

    NEW YORK — A district court properly entered judgment in favor of a disability insurer because the insurer’s termination of a claimant’s benefits under the disability plan’s any occupation standard was not arbitrary and capricious, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 2.

  • April 03, 2024

    Class Settlement Wins Final Approval In ERISA Annuity Calculation Case

    MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin federal judge has granted final approval to a class action settlement with an estimated present value of $900,000 in a suit over claims that married retirees and beneficiaries were “shortchanged” by pension benefits calculated using allegedly outdated mortality and interest rate assumptions.

  • April 03, 2024

    After Bench Trial, Final Judgment Entered Against Class In ERISA Imprudence Case

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — Despite the plaintiffs’ objection to wording regarding costs, a California federal judge entered final judgment for the prevailing retirement plan sponsor, investment manager and investment adviser on all claims essentially as they proposed after a nine-day bench trial that resolved the remaining claims in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action over proprietary target date funds (TDFs).

  • April 03, 2024

    Disability Claimant Owed LTD Benefits Under Own-Occupation Standard, Judge Says

    NEW YORK — A disability claimant is entitled to long-term disability (LTD) benefits for the first 24 months of his disability because the evidence supports a finding that the claimant is disabled from the duties of his own occupation, a New York federal judge said in granting the claimant’s motion for judgment on the administrative record.

  • April 02, 2024

    Disability Claimant’s Suit Reopened To Determine If Plan Complied With Remand Order

    TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma federal judge reopened a disability claimant’s suit to consider whether the disability plan administrator failed to follow the court’s remand order regarding clarification of the plan’s denial of the claimant’s short-term disability (STD) claim.

  • April 02, 2024

    Denial Of STD Benefits Claim Was Not Arbitrary, Capricious, Judge Says

    SALT LAKE CITY — A disability insurer’s denial of short-term disability (STD) benefits was not arbitrary and capricious because the disability claimant failed to submit sufficient evidence showing that he was entitled to benefits, a Utah federal judge concluded in granting the insurer’s motion for summary judgment.

  • April 02, 2024

    Judge ‘Appalled’ At AI’s Use In Research, Affirms Denial Of AD&D Claim

    CHICAGO  — A federal judge in Illinois said that despite an attorney’s clear violation of a court order prohibiting the use of artificial intelligence, she would assume that ChatGPT was not used to author the entire brief, while dismissing an Employee Retirement Income Security Act claim alleging that an insurer improperly denied an accidental death and dismemberment claim after a fatal car fire.

  • April 01, 2024

    2nd Class Loses ERISA Case Over Proprietary TDFs After Bench Trial

    LOS ANGELES — As a peer did in a similar case weeks earlier, a California federal judge has entered final judgment against a class of retirement plan participants in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action over proprietary target date funds (TDFs) following a bench trial.

  • March 29, 2024

    Panel Enters Judgment For Disability Claimant; Opinion Temporarily Filed Under Seal

    PITTSBURGH — A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued judgment in favor of a disability claimant, vacating and remanding a district court’s ruling in favor of the disability plan; however, the panel filed the opinion under seal to allow the parties to submit proposed redactions.

  • March 29, 2024

    6th Circuit Allows DOL To Argue As Amicus In ERISA Effective Vindication Row

    CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has granted acting U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Julie A. Su’s motion to participate as amicus curiae in May 2 oral argument supporting application of the effective vindication doctrine in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act dispute involving what the DOL calls a representative action waiver.

  • March 29, 2024

    $7.5M Deal Gets Final OK In ERISA Follow-Up Suit Over Proprietary Funds

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — Reducing requested attorney fee and service awards slightly, a California federal judge granted final approval to a $7.5 million class settlement in a follow-up suit over a retirement plan whose fiduciaries allegedly maintained an all-proprietary fund lineup despite a 2018 settlement over similar Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims.

  • March 27, 2024

    7th Circuit Rejects Conduct Argument In $2.3M Withdrawal Liability Row

    CHICAGO — Reversing summary judgment in a Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act (MPPAA) case it called “the flip side of” Cent. States, Se. & Sw. Areas Pension Fund v. Gerber Truck Serv., a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held that “the terms of pension contributions to multi-employer plans cannot be changed orally” or via adoption by conduct.

  • March 26, 2024

    Preliminary Injunction Over Illinois Temp Worker Provision Draws Appeal

    CHICAGO — After an Illinois federal judge ruled that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act likely preempts an “equivalent benefits” amendment to the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act (DTLSA) and then issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement of that amendment, the leader of an Illinois regulatory department on March 25 filed notice of interlocutory appeal.

  • March 26, 2024

    DOL To 5th Circuit: ESG Investing Rule Doesn’t Contradict ERISA

    NEW ORLEANS — Urging the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to affirm a ruling that left in place the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) 2022 investment rule concerning environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, the department and its acting secretary argue that challengers’ criticisms “rest on an overly broad understanding of the circumstances where the tiebreaker standard applies.”

  • March 25, 2024

    6th Circuit Vacates Dismissal Of ERISA Preemption Case Against Tennessee Pharmacy

    CINCINNATI — In an unpublished opinion, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel vacated and remanded dismissal of a suit in which a bakery that wants to keep a pharmacy out of network for its self-funded health plan argued that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts Tennessee’s “any willing pharmacy” laws.

  • March 25, 2024

    Disability Claimant Met Burden Of Proving He Remained Disabled Under Terms Of Plan

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A disability claimant met his burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that he remained disabled as a result of multiple sclerosis and that his long-term disability (LTD) benefits were improperly terminated, a Tennessee federal judge said in granting he claimant’s motion for judgment on the administrative record.

  • March 25, 2024

    Medical Doctor Is Entitled To Additional LTD Benefits For Post-Viral Complications

    MINNEAPOLIS — A medical doctor who suffered post-viral complications from a suspected case of COVID-19 is entitled to additional long-term disability (LTD) benefits because she met her burden of showing that she was partially disabled for the entirety of 2021.

  • March 25, 2024

    In Amicus Brief, Groups Urge 2nd Circuit To Affirm ERISA Ruling In Jury Trial Case

    NEW YORK — Supporting the argument by Yale University and related appellees that the “could have” standard used in damages instructions is not grounds for overturning judgment in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act case that went before a jury, a group of prominent organizations filed an amicus curiae brief urging the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to affirm a 2023 judgment against a class of retirement plan participants.

  • March 22, 2024

    Federal Judge Awards Disability Claimant More Than $187K In Attorney Fees

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge awarded a disability claimant more than $187,000 in attorney fees after finding that the award is warranted based on the claimant’s success on the merits of his claims for disability benefits and waiver of life insurance premium benefits and after applying a 10% reduction to the billed attorney fee rates and a 5% reduction to the billed number of hours.

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