LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Williams Mullen: 4th Circuit Rules Retirement Plan Trustees' Failures Must Have Causal Link to Plan Losses to Hold Trustees Liable

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw Plasterers' Local Union No 96 Pension Plan v. Pepper , No. 10-1364 (4th Cir., December 1, 2011) The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has ruled that retirement plan trustees cannot be held liable for failures to investigate the prudence of plan...

Williams Mullen: Corporate Spin-Off, New Retirement Plan Did Not Violate Employees’ Rights Under ERISA

Nauman v. Abbott Laboratories , No. 10-2272 (7th Cir. February 3, 2012) B y Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has affirmed a trial judgment against a class of former employees of Abbott Laboratories ("Abbott"), ruling against their...

Williams Mullen: Fiduciary Not Liable For Money Damages In Action To Recover Death Benefits: Stocks v. Life Ins. Co. Of North America

B y Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw A federal district court recently applied the U. S. Supreme Court's decision in CIGNA Corp. v. Amara (2011) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], in a practical setting that illuminates both the range and the limits of the Supreme Court's...

Williams Mullen: 11th Circuit Rules Home Depot Plan Fiduciaries Did Not Breach Their Duties Related To The Plan's Company Stock Fund

B y M ark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw In Lanfear v. Home Depot, Inc. , No. 10-13002 (11th Cir. May 8, 2012) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit joined five other federal circuit courts in adopting a presumption that, in the absence...

Williams Mullen - McCravy v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.: Recognizing A Broader Scope for ERISA's Equitable Remedies

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The Fourth Circuit has reversed an earlier position and now recognizes a broader scope for equitable remedies available to ERISA plaintiffs following the U. S. Supreme Court's decision in CIGNA Corp. v. Amara , 131 S. Ct. 1866 (2011) [ enhanced version available...

Williams Mullen: The Emerging Frontiers For Equitable Remedies Under ERISA In The 4th Circuit: Moon v. BWX Technologies

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit continues to build out the boundaries of ERISA's equitable remedies, which have expanded in the Fourth Circuit in the wake of the U. S. Supreme Court's decision in CIGNA Corp. v. Amara , 131 S. Ct. 1866...

Williams Mullen: 4th Circuit Holds That Plan Administrators' Alleged Fiduciary Breach Based On 401(k) Plans' Fund Selection Is Time-Barred

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The Fourth Circuit rejected the claims of a putative class action brought on behalf of participants of two retirement plans sponsored by Bank of America. In David v. Alphin , No. 11-2181 (4th Cir. Jan. 14, 2013) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers...

Williams Mullen: Retirement Plan Plaintiffs Were Not Required To Exhaust Administrative Remedies Before Filing Their Class Action

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The Second Circuit has held that a putative class of ERISA plaintiffs was not required to exhaust a plan's administrative remedies prior to filing claims for a redetermination of future retirement benefits and alleged irregularities in plan amendments. Kirkendall...

Court Dismisses ERISA Case Concerning Investments in Mortgage-Backed Securities

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of a case brought against Morgan Stanley Investment Management Inc. ("Morgan Stanley") concerning certain investments in mortgage-backed securities that allegedly violated fiduciary...

Williams Mullen: Supreme Court Holds That Clear Plan Terms Control Equitable Remedies: U.S. Airways Inc. v. McCutchen

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw In U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen , No. 11-1285 (Apr. 16, 2013) [lexis.com subscribers may access Supreme Court briefs and the opinion for this case] , the U.S. Supreme Court underscored the importance of clearly stated benefit plan terms while also clarifying...

Williams Mullen:Court Holds that Erroneous Advice about Medical Benefits Coverage Can Expose Plans to Liability

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw In Kenseth v. Dean Health Plan, Inc. , No. 11-1560 (June 13, 2013) [ Enhanced opinion available to lexis.com subscribers], the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed the scope of equitable remedies available under ERISA and determined that the erroneous advice...

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...

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”...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...