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Munro v. Univ. of S. Cal.

United States District Court for the Central District of California

December 20, 2019, Decided; December 20, 2019, Filed



Order GRANTING Plaintiff's Motion to Certify Class (Doc. No. 150).

Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Certify Class (the "Motion"). (Dkt. 150). The matter came on for hearing on December 13, 2019. (Dkt. 200). After considering all papers filed in support of, and in opposition to, the Motion, and the arguments advanced at the hearing, the Court GRANTS the Motion.


A. Procedural Background

Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on August 17, 2016, alleging that the University of Southern California ("USC") violated provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. (Dkt. 1). The suit is one of more than a dozen "nearly identical" university retirement plan cases litigated in federal courts in recent years. (Dkt. 141 at 7-8 (collecting cases)).

USC maintains two retirement savings plans, the Defined Contribution Retirement Plan [*5]  (the "DC Plan") and the Tax-Deferred Annuity Plan (the "TDA Plan" and, together with the DC Plan, the "Plans" and each a "Plan"). (Dkt. 150-1 at 8). The named plaintiffs in this action—Allen Munro, Daniel C. Wheeler, Jane A. Singleton, Sarah Wohlgemuth, Rebecca A. Snyder, Dion Dickman, Corey Clark, and Steven L. Olson—are current or former employees of USC and participants in the Plans. (Id. at 10). Defendants are the Plans' fiduciaries, a group composed of USC, the USC Retirement Plan Oversight Committee (the "Committee"), and current or former members of the Committee (Dkt. 149, ¶¶ 29-55).

Plaintiffs first amended their complaint on November 17, 2016. (Dkt. 40). On July 2, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiffs' motion to amend the complaint a second time (Dkt. 145), and Plaintiffs filed the operative Second Amended Complaint (the "SAC") on July 12, 2019, adding as defendants several more members of the Committee (Dkt. 149). Defendants moved to dismiss each cause of action and to strike Plaintiffs' jury demand (Dkt. 155, 156). On August 27, 2019, the Court granted the motion to dismiss in part and struck Plaintiffs' jury demand. (Dkt. 175).

Plaintiffs filed the instant Motion on July 15, 2019, [*6]  seeking to represent a putative class of over 30,000 participants, defined as follows:

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2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 226682 *; 2019 WL 7842551

Allen L. Munro et al, Plaintiff, v. University of Southern California et al, Defendant.


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