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Krueger v. Ameriprise Fin., Inc.

United States District Court for the District of Minnesota

May 23, 2014, Decided; May 23, 2014, Filed

Case No. 11-cv-02781 (SRN/JSM)

Opinion

 [*563]  MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

[FILED UNDER SEAL]

SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, United States District Judge

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Roger Krueger, Jeffrey Olson, Deborah Tuckner, Susan Wones, and Margene Bauhs' (collectively "Plaintiffs") Motion to Certify Class Action [Doc. No. 215] and Plaintiffs' Motion to Strike Supplemental Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion to Certify Class Action [Doc. No. 287] ("Motion to Strike"). For the reasons stated below, the Court grants Plaintiffs' Motion to Certify Class Action and denies Plaintiffs' Motion to Strike.

II. BACKGROUND

A. The Plan1

Defendant Ameriprise Financial, Inc. ("Ameriprise") makes available to eligible employees and retirees of Ameriprise and its subsidiaries and affiliates the Ameriprise Financial 401(k) retirement benefit plan (the "Plan"). (See Declaration of Brent Sabin dated July 2, 2013 [Doc. No. 152] ("Sabin Decl."), Ex. D at 1—2, 36.) The Plan is a defined contribution plan in which participants may direct their Plan balances among different investment options. (See id. at 1, 10—20.) The Plan became effective on October 1, 2005, (id., Ex. A § 1.2), and it has had at least 10,000 participants annually from 2005 through 2012, (Declaration of Kurt Struckhoff dated Oct. 1, 2013 [Doc. No. 218] ¶ 3 & Ex. 1).

Ameriprise was once part of American Express Companies, and the Plan duplicated many of the investment options that had been available through the American Express 401(k) plan when Ameriprise spun off from American Express in October 2005. (See Sabin Decl., Ex. D at 1, 10, 13; id., Ex. A §§ 1.1, 1.2.) When the Plan was first developed, it offered participants three tiers of investment options. (See Declaration of Shannon Barrett dated Nov. 1, 2013 [Doc. [**3]  No. 231], Ex. C.)2 All but one of the investment options in Tiers 1 and 2 were Ameriprise-affiliated mutual funds and co-mingled trusts. (See id.) Tier 3 was a self-directed brokerage window. (See id.)

Two named fiduciary committees have primary responsibility for administering the Plan. Ameriprise's Employee Benefits Administration Committee ("EBAC") is the Plan administrator and is responsible for determining benefits eligibility and construing Plan documents, and the Ameriprise Financial, Inc. 401(k) Plan Investment Committee ("Investment Committee") selects and monitors the investment options in the Plan lineup and directs how investment options for the Plan are invested. (See Sabin Decl., Ex. A §§ 2.4, 6.3, 10.3, 10.4.) Ameriprise's Compensation and Benefits Committee of the Board of Directors ("CBC") has the authority to appoint and to remove the EBAC's members. (Id. § 10.1.)

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304 F.R.D. 559 *; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182945 **

Roger Krueger, Jeffrey Olson, Deborah Tuckner, Susan Wones, and Margene Bauhs, individually and as representatives of a class of similarly situated persons, and on behalf of the Ameriprise Financial 401(k) Plan, Plaintiffs, v. Ameriprise Financial, Inc., Ameriprise Financial, Inc. Employee Benefits Administration Committee, Michelle Rudlong, Ameriprise Financial, Inc. 401(k) Investment Committee, Compensation and Benefits Committee of the Board of Directors of Ameriprise Financial, Inc., Martin S. Solhaug, and Brent Sabin, Defendants.

Prior History: Krueger v. Ameriprise Fin., Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166191 (D. Minn., Nov. 20, 2012)

CORE TERMS

Plaintiffs', Defendants', class certification, fiduciary, class action, breached, invested, Certify, losses, fiduciary duty, record-keeping, funds, prohibited transaction, options, parties, commonality, putative class member, named plaintiff, imprudent, injuries, Counts, plan participant, class member, breach of fiduciary duty, Memorandum, incompatible, briefing, restore, varying, certification