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

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. ...

Thomas A. Robinson on Top Issues in Workers’ Compensation Law for 2013

Things appear to be “pumping” in the world of workers’ compensation. Legislatures are gathering. Proponents of “reform”—whatever that is—are huddled together, planning their strategies. Pointing to the activities in Oklahoma (discussed below), in Florida, and...

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...

High Court: 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...

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...

Oklahoma Opt Outs and ERISA

Proponents of the recently passed Oklahoma workers’ compensation reforms proclaim that the opt out provisions provide an alternative to the newly formed administrative system for processing injured worker claims and do not require that alternative benefit plans be subject to ERISA or other federal...

U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen: SCOTUS Says Enforcement of ERISA Plan Terms Is Not “Inequitable”

by Sara E. Hauptfuehrer Employer-sponsored group heath plans typically allow reimbursement to the plan for benefits paid in connection with injuries sustained as a result the tortious conduct of a third party. That right of reimbursement arises when the injured plan participant obtains a recovery...

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...

Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Limitations Period in ERISA Benefits Denial Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (Mealey’s) A beneficiary’s claim for wrongful denial of disability benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not accrue for limitations purposes until the plan’s internal benefits resolution process has been exhausted, notwithstanding a...

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”...

Supreme Court Rules on Limitations Period in ERISA Denial Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (Mealey’s) The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 16 ruled that the contractual limitations provision of a disability benefits plan that requires participants to bring suit within three years after “proof of loss” is due is enforceable under the Employee Retirement...

Madoff Brother, Convicted and Jailed, Now is Disbarred

Peter Madoff – Bernard Madoff’s brother – has been disbarred. Just about five years to the day after Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme came to light, just about one year to the day after Peter Madoff was sentenced to consecutive five year terms of imprisonment for each of his admitted...

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...

US Supreme Court Rules That Fund’s Appeal of Merits Ruling Is Untimely

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (Mealey’s) A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that a federal district court’s decision on the merits that left unresolved a multiemployer pension fund’s request for contractual attorney fees is a final decision subject to immediate appeal under 28 U...

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...

Court Holds That ERISA Plaintiff Cannot Claim Equitable Remedies When the Plaintiff Has Adequate Remedies to Recover Plan Benefits

Court So Holds Notwithstanding the Expansion of the Kinds of Equitable Relief in CIGNA Corp. v. Amara by Mark S. Thomas & 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...

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...

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on ERISA Presumption of Prudence

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (Mealey’s) Fifth Third Bank and its employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) trustees in oral arguments this morning urged the U.S. Supreme Court to find that the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred by holding that participants in the ESOP were not required to allege...

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...

U.S. Supreme Court: No Special Presumption of Prudence For ESOP Fiduciaries

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (Mealey’s) The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled unanimously that under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) fiduciaries are not entitled to a presumption of prudence and are subject to the same standard of prudence as all ERISA...

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...