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: 4th Circuit Upholds Lengthy 'Stent' for Interventional Cardiologist

By John Staige Davis V Can a cardiologist be sent to prison for performing medically unnecessary stent procedures, even though he stented a considerably lower percentage of his patients than his peers? In United States v. McLean, No. 11-5130 (Apr. 23, 2013) ) [lexis.com subscribers may access the...

Williams Mullen: U.S. Supreme Court Hands Down 2 Significant Cases for Employers

By David C. Burton On June 24 the United States Supreme Court handed down two significant and closely watched decisions affecting employers in Title VII cases. Both opinions came from a sharply divided court splitting five to four in both cases. The two cases were Vance v. Ball State University and...

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...

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: In Rebuff To Labor Board, 5th Circuit Sustains Arbitration Agreements With Class Action Waivers

By David C. Burton , Beth Hirsch Berman and J. Nelson Wilkinson In recent years, employers have faced increased, and increasingly expensive, class action litigation from current and former employees. In response, many employers have turned to arbitration agreements with class-action waivers as...

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: 7th Circuit Interprets ERISA’s Statute of Limitations for Fiduciary Breach: Fish v. GreatBanc Trust Company

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Fish v. GreatBanc Trust Company , No. 12-3330 (7th Cir. May 14, 2014) [ enhanced opinion available to lexis.com subscribers ], has issued a decision that clarifies the rules for suits for fiduciary breach under ERISA. The decision...

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...

Williams Mullen: Defeating Class Certification: Halliburton II Ruling Impacts Securities Class Action Issues

By Turner A. Broughton and Lauren M. Wheeling In its June 23, 2014 opinion in Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc. (“ Halliburton II ”), the United States Supreme Court addressed two securities class action issues[ enhanced opinion available to lexis.com subscribers. : lexis.com...