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All About Hughes: What Can We Learn?

February 22, 2022

In Hughes v. Northwestern University, much was expected, and little delivered. Hughes was an "excessive fee" lawsuit for which the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in December 2021 and delivered a January 2022 opinion. Hughes v. Northwestern Univ., 2022 U.S. LEXIS 622 (Jan. 24, 2022), rev’g Divane v. Northwestern Univ., 953 F.3d 980 (7th Cir. 2020). The Court ultimately vacated the Seventh Circuit’s decision to permit dismissal under Fed. R. Civ. Proc 12(b)(6), directing the lower court to reevaluate the allegations as a whole, considering whether petitioners (participants) had plausibly alleged a violation of the ERISA duty of prudence, as articulated in Tibble v. Edison Int'l, 575 U.S. 523 (2015), applying the pleading standards discussed in earlier decisions.

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