LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
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...

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...

Klein and Sharman on Fifth Third Bancorp. v. Dudenhoeffer and the Demise of the Moench/Kuper Presumption

In Fifth Third Bancorp. v. Dudenhoeffer , No. 12-751, 2014 U.S. LEXIS 4495 (June 25, 2014) [an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers] , the Supreme Court unanimously held that plan fiduciaries are not entitled to a "presumption of prudence" under the Employee...

Supreme Court Will Review Continuing Duty of Prudence Under ERISA

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (Mealey’s) The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 2 granted review of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals opinion that ruled that revenue sharing between mutual funds and a 401(k) plan’s administrative service provider did not violate the plan or the Employee Retirement...

Ohio: Statute Precluding Comp Coverage for Worker Temporarily in the State Does Not Apply to Employee of Texas Non-Subscriber

Like a number of other states, Ohio has a provision in its comp act [ORC Ann. § 4123.54(H)] precluding workers’ compensation coverage for an employee when: (1) the employee is a resident of another state; (2) the employee is insured in a state other than Ohio; and (3) the employee is only...

Employee Benefits: The Importance of the Official Plan Document

by Sara E. Hauptfuehrer “Every employee benefit plan shall be established and maintained pursuant to a written instrument.” That is the first sentence in ERISA’s fiduciary responsibility provision. The ERISA-mandated “written instrument” – the official plan document...

Tackling the Elephant in the Room: Exclusive Remedy

How I spent my time at the National Workers’ Compensation & Disability Conference discussing the exclusive remedy doctrine By Deborah G. Kohl, Esq. As all workers’ compensation practitioners know exclusive remedy is the linchpin of the “great social bargain” underlying...

Third Circuit on Attorney's Fees Under ERISA

I took last week off from blogging to wrap up my first year of teaching employment law at Penn State. Now I'm back with an exciting new development from the Third Circuit . . . a precedential decision on the standard for awarding attorney's fees under ERISA! Okay, "exciting" might not...

Supreme Court Says Trust Law Informs Limitations Question in Imprudent Retention Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (Mealey’s) The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous opinion today that the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred in holding that Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 413(1) bars breach of fiduciary duty claims based on the fiduciaries’ initial selection...

U.S. Supreme Court Makes It Easier for Plan Sponsors to Challenge the Prudence of 401(k) Investment Options

On May 18, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision that effectively expands the time period during which a 401(k) plan participant may file suit for certain ERISA violations. In Tibble v. Edison International , the Court considered the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision...

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP: 8 Key Estate Planning Opportunities Arising From The Supreme Court's Decision On Same-Sex Marriage

By Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that a state ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional, in violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The landmark ruling in the combined cases known as Obergefell v. Hodges [1] struck down every...