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United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
March 8, 2021, Decided; March 8, 2021, Filed
CIVIL ACTION NO. 20-2644
Three participants in their former employer's defined contribution plan are suing the plan's fiduciaries for allegedly breaching fiduciary duties owed to them under ERISA. The three plan participants [**2] move to certify and represent a class of over 60,000 active participants. The plan participants invested in different funds but focus their allegations on the fiduciaries allegedly retaining more expensive and underperforming funds despite the availability of lower cost funds, failing to monitor excessive record keeping and administrative fees and costs relative to similar plans, offering an excessively expensive menu of investment options, and failing to monitor their appointees. We denied the fiduciaries' partial motion to dismiss four months ago.
The fiduciaries now oppose class certification arguing individualized defenses under ERISA section 404(c), potentially differing limitations periods, and the three participants' investments in different funds render the participants atypical and the defenses create issues unable to be resolved on a class-wide basis. Following discovery, we find the three participants may proceed in representing a class of current and former plan participants. We agree with the persuasive reasoning from courts around the country rejecting the fiduciaries' arguments at this stage. We grant the three participants' motion for class certification.
Universal Health Services, [**3] Inc. sponsors the Universal Health Services, Inc. Retirement Savings Plan ("Plan"), a defined contribution plan under which its qualified employees can invest a portion of their paycheck in one or more of thirty available investment options. Universal Health Services matches a portion of those contributions.1 Universal Health Services and its Investment Committee appointed by the Board of Directors serve as the Plan's fiduciaries and administrators.2 The fiduciaries must administer the Plan under Congress' mandates in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA").3
The Plan had 60,018 active participants in 2018 with 41,872 holding active account balances.4 The Plan had net assets totaling over $1.9 billion.5 From June 5, 2014 through at least last month, the Plan offered participants a menu of thirty-seven investment options including some offered for a limited time.6
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
337 F.R.D. 626 *; 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42257 **; 2021 WL 859399
MARY K. BOLEY, et al. v. UNIVERSAL HEALTH SERVICES, INC., et al.
Prior History: Boley v. Universal Health Servs., 498 F. Supp. 3d 715, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 202565, 2020 WL 6381395 (E.D. Pa., Oct. 30, 2020)
Fiduciaries, plan participant, class certification, class member, individualized, breach of fiduciary duty, putative class, certification, defenses, defeat, funds, putative class member, proposed class, commonality, satisfies, invested, statute of limitations, class action, plan-wide, options, court of appeals, circumstances, defendants', certify, damages, monitor, courts, class representative, actual knowledge, class period
Civil Procedure, Special Proceedings, Class Actions, Certification of Classes, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Preponderance of Evidence, Prerequisites for Class Action, Adequacy of Representation, Numerosity, Typicality, Commonality, Pensions & Benefits Law, ERISA, Civil Litigation, Class Actions, Fiduciary Responsibilities, Plan Administration, Diversification Rule, Business & Corporate Law, Causes of Action & Remedies, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Statute of Limitations, Causes of Action, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Relevance, Relevant Evidence, Class Attorneys, Appointments, Remedies, Equitable Accountings, Trust Accountings