Williams Mullen: Fiduciary Not Liable For Money Damages In Action To Recover Death Benefits: Stocks v. Life Ins. Co. Of North America

B y Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw A federal district court recently applied the U. S. Supreme Court's decision in CIGNA Corp. v. Amara (2011) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], in a practical setting that illuminates both the range and the limits of the Supreme Court's...

Williams Mullen: 11th Circuit Rules Home Depot Plan Fiduciaries Did Not Breach Their Duties Related To The Plan's Company Stock Fund

B y M ark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw In Lanfear v. Home Depot, Inc. , No. 10-13002 (11th Cir. May 8, 2012) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit joined five other federal circuit courts in adopting a presumption that, in the absence...

High Court Will Consider Equitable Remedies Available Under ERISA

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to review a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a health plan administrator's claim for reimbursement against a plan participant is subject to equitable limitations, including unjust enrichment, under Employee Retirement Income Security...

Williams Mullen - McCravy v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.: Recognizing A Broader Scope for ERISA's Equitable Remedies

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The Fourth Circuit has reversed an earlier position and now recognizes a broader scope for equitable remedies available to ERISA plaintiffs following the U. S. Supreme Court's decision in CIGNA Corp. v. Amara , 131 S. Ct. 1866 (2011) [ enhanced version available...

Bank Of America To Pay $2.43 Billion To Settle Securities Class Action Lawsuit

NEW YORK - In what is being called the largest settlement of a credit-crisis-related securities class action lawsuit, Bank of America Corp. (BoA) has agreed to a $2.43 billion settlement on claims that it and certain of its executive officers and directors misrepresented the company's business and...

Feeder Funds To Pay Nearly $220 Million To Settle Madoff Ponzi Scheme Fraud Claims

NEW YORK - (Mealey's) Four Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC feeder funds and several of their current and former owners and officers have agreed to pay nearly $220 million to settle claims that they breached their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by "recommending...

Williams Mullen: The Strategic Importance Of ERISA Preemption In Wrongful Termination Cases

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw In Swindler v. Ben Lippen School and Columbia International University , No. 3:12-CV-2314-CMC [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina remanded a case back to state court after the plaintiff...

High Court Considers Whether Participant Must Reimburse Health Plan Under ERISA

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred in ruling that a health plan administrator's claim for reimbursement against a plan participant is subject to equitable limitations, including unjust enrichment, under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 502...

Williams Mullen: The Emerging Frontiers For Equitable Remedies Under ERISA In The 4th Circuit: Moon v. BWX Technologies

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit continues to build out the boundaries of ERISA's equitable remedies, which have expanded in the Fourth Circuit in the wake of the U. S. Supreme Court's decision in CIGNA Corp. v. Amara , 131 S. Ct. 1866...

Williams Mullen: 4th Circuit Holds That Plan Administrators' Alleged Fiduciary Breach Based On 401(k) Plans' Fund Selection Is Time-Barred

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The Fourth Circuit rejected the claims of a putative class action brought on behalf of participants of two retirement plans sponsored by Bank of America. In David v. Alphin , No. 11-2181 (4th Cir. Jan. 14, 2013) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers...

Williams Mullen: Retirement Plan Plaintiffs Were Not Required To Exhaust Administrative Remedies Before Filing Their Class Action

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The Second Circuit has held that a putative class of ERISA plaintiffs was not required to exhaust a plan's administrative remedies prior to filing claims for a redetermination of future retirement benefits and alleged irregularities in plan amendments. Kirkendall...

Final Approval Of $2.4Billion Settlement Granted In Bank Of America Securities Suit

NEW YORK - (Mealey's) A federal judge in New York on April 5 granted final approval of a $2.4 billion settlement between shareholders and Bank of America Corp. (BoA) to settle claims that it and certain of its executive officers and directors misrepresented the company's business and financial...

Supreme Court Says Health Plan Terms Govern ERISA Reimbursement Action Based On Equitable Lien

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) The U.S. Supreme Court on April 16 ruled that a health plan administrator's claim for reimbursement against a plan participant under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 502(a)(3) based on an equitable lien by agreement is governed by the terms of the...

Court Dismisses ERISA Case Concerning Investments in Mortgage-Backed Securities

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of a case brought against Morgan Stanley Investment Management Inc. ("Morgan Stanley") concerning certain investments in mortgage-backed securities that allegedly violated fiduciary...

Williams Mullen: Supreme Court Holds That Clear Plan Terms Control Equitable Remedies: U.S. Airways Inc. v. McCutchen

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw In U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen , No. 11-1285 (Apr. 16, 2013) [lexis.com subscribers may access Supreme Court briefs and the opinion for this case] , the U.S. Supreme Court underscored the importance of clearly stated benefit plan terms while also clarifying...

Williams Mullen:Court Holds that Erroneous Advice about Medical Benefits Coverage Can Expose Plans to Liability

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw In Kenseth v. Dean Health Plan, Inc. , No. 11-1560 (June 13, 2013) [ Enhanced opinion available to lexis.com subscribers], the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed the scope of equitable remedies available under ERISA and determined that the erroneous advice...

UBS To Pay $120 Million To Settle Claims Over Lehman Brothers Securities Losses

NEW YORK — (Mealey’s) In a New York federal court, UBS Financial Services Inc. agreed on Aug 8 to pay $120 million to settle federal securities law claims that it misrepresented the investment quality of certain Lehman Brothers securities it sold before Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy...

Williams Mullen: Court Holds That Severance Policy Is Not An ERISA Plan: Okun v. Montefiore Medical Center

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has provided clear and useful guidance on a common ERISA question: what constitutes an ERISA-governed benefit plan for severance benefits? In Okun v. Montefiore Medical Center , No. 11 Civ. 9615 (PGG...

Williams Mullen: Court Holds Plan Sponsor’s SEC Filings Incorporated By Reference Into Retirement Plan’s Summary Plan Description, Constituted Part Of Plan Fiduciary’s Communications To Participants

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw | The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has held that an ERISA-regulated employee stock-ownership retirement plan’s incorporation by reference of the plan sponsor’s statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”...

Williams Mullen: Court’s Award Of $3.8 Million Raises Questions About The Scope Of ERISA Remedies

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has affirmed an unusually large award of $3.8 million in a case involving the denial of long-term disability benefits. In Rochow v. Life Insurance Company of North America , No. 12-2074 (6th Cir. Dec. 6, 2013) [ enhanced...

Williams Mullen: Supreme Court Holds That Clock for the Appeal of an ERISA Decision Began Running Sooner Than Plaintiff Expected

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the plaintiffs, a group of union-affiliated employee benefit funds (the Funds), waited too late to give notice of their appeal from the trial court’s judgment on the merits of their case seeking payment of employer contributions...

Williams Mullen: Court Holds ERISA Plaintiff Can’t Claim Equitable Remedies When They Have Adequate Remedies to Recover Plan Benefits, Notwithstanding the Expansion of the Kinds of Equitable Relief in CIGNA Corp. v. Amara

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw A federal court has ruled that, although a recent U. S. Supreme Court decision expanded the kinds of equitable remedies available to a plaintiff under ERISA § 502(a)(3), those remedies are still unavailable when the ERISA plaintiff has an adequate remedy to...

Williams Mullen: ‘You Can’t Bend It That Way, Beckham’: Federal Court Dismisses Plaintiff’s Attempted Claims For Equitable Relief

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw Following the U. S. Supreme Court’s decision in CIGNA Corp. v. Amara , 131 S. Ct. 1866 (2011) [ enhanced opinion available to lexis.com subscribers ] [lexis.com subscribers may access Supreme Court briefs for this case ] , the federal courts have wrestled with...

Williams Mullen: D.C. Circuit Rules That ‘Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies’ Is Not Required For Violations of ERISA’S Statutory Guarantees: Stephens v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has joined five other federal circuits to rule that pension plan participants need not exhaust a plan’s internal remedial procedures before they file suit in federal court to assert violations...

Williams Mullen: 4th Circuit Adopts More Demanding Test For Exercise Of Objective Prudence By Retirement Plan Fiduciaries

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw In the latest ruling in a long-running battle arising from company stock fund divestments, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has underscored the importance of procedural prudence in the management of plan assets. In Tatum v. RJR Pension Investment...