NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on June 21 dismissed an Employee Retirement Income Security Act putative class action that alleged that a record keeper's advice arrangement constituted a breach of fiduciary duty resulting in excessive fees, saying that the plaintiff failed to allege facts showing that the defendants were ERISA fiduciaries with respect to their fees (Lisa Patrico v. Voya Financial Inc., et al., No. 16-cv-7070, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95735).
OKLAHOMA CITY - On remand, a trial court must consider whether a woman's class action claiming that a hospital improperly sought collection from her in violation of its contract with her insurer invokes an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan or whether the plan is merely part of the "factual backdrop" of the case, a divided Oklahoma Supreme Court held June 21 (Elizabeth Cates v. INTEGRIS Health Inc., No. 114314, Okla. Sup., 2017 Okla. LEXIS 53).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on June 19 dismissed the remaining claims in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action, saying that the plaintiffs have failed to show that the defendants breached their duties of loyalty and prudence and failed to make a prima facie showing of loss (John Brotherston, et al. v. Putnam Investments LLC, et al., No. 1:15-cv-13825, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93654).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on June 19 granted Fidelity Management Trust Co.'s motion for summary judgment in a class action alleging that Fidelity breached its fiduciary duties pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by mismanaging the Fidelity Group Employee Benefit Plan Managed Income Portfolio Comingled Pool (MIP), saying the plaintiffs did not carry their burden to establish a fiduciary breach (John Ellis, et al. v. Fidelity Management Trust Co., No 1:15-14128, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93656).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 19 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari to review a judgment of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a pension fund had no standing to assert breach of fiduciary duty claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act against its investment adviser for continuing to recommend investment in a Ponzi scheme when the adviser had privately expressed significant doubts about the continued prudence of that investment vehicle (Trustees of the Upstate New York Engineers Pension Fund v. Ivy Asset Management, et al., No. 16-1377, U.S. Sup.).
SEATTLE - Shareholders in a securities class action lawsuit against a developmental pharmaceutical company and certain of its executive offices have properly pleaded a material misrepresentation at this point in the litigation and scienter in alleging that the defendants misrepresented the clinical trial results for the company's new cancer treatment drug in violation of federal securities laws, a federal judge in Washington ruled June 14 (In re Juno Therapeutics Inc., No. 16-1069, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91608).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 13 affirmed the grant of summary judgment to defendants in a case where a plaintiff sued under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act seeking additional reimbursement for a series of steroid knee injections that an orthopedic surgeon administered to his spouse, finding no abuse of discretion in the defendants' decision to not provide additional insurance coverage and no error in the trial court's refusal to consider information that the plaintiff failed to provide during the administrative appeals process (Monte Hooper, et al. v. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-2157, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10482).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on June 13 appointed the lead plaintiff in a securities fraud class action suit after determining that the sole movant for lead plaintiff suffered the largest financial loss in the proposed class of more than $83,000 (Courtney Elkin v. Walter Investment Management Group et al., No. 17-2025, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90156).
NEW YORK - A total of 13 settlements in 2016 were large enough to be added to the top 100 list of securities class action settlements, including one to the top 10 all-time, in terms of total settlement amount, according to a report issued by corporate governance solutions provider Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS) Securities Class Action Services Inc. on June 13.
ST. LOUIS - A panel of the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 12 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a company's payment to a class of bondholders who brought a class action alleging violations of a state securities act complied with the "unambiguous language" of a stipulated settlement despite the class's contention that the payment was incomplete (John W. Cromeans, et al. v. Morgan Keegan & Company, et al., No. 16-2417, 8th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10413).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on June 8 denied Wells Fargo Bank's motion to reconsider his March order that a 2013 verdict did not have a preclusive effect on nonjury claims brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because its counsel failed to timely raise the issue (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 11-2529, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89240).
NEW YORK - An investor group was appointed as lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit against a pet therapeutics company and certain of its executive officers on June 6 after a federal judge in New York ruled that the group met all statutory requirements to serve in the position (In re Aratana Therapeutics Inc. Securities Litigation, No 17-0880, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87351).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A shareholder sued restaurant chain Panera Bread Co. and its board of directors in Delaware federal court on June 7, alleging that the defendants issued a proxy statement in connection with a proposed merger deal that contains information insufficient for shareholders to properly consider the proposed deal in violation of federal securities laws (Lawrence Phillips v. Panera Bread Co., et al., No. 17-0697, D. Del.).
DENVER - An investor has failed to plead demand futility in arguing that the board of directors for a Mexican food restaurant chain breached their fiduciary duty in failing to provide the necessary oversight of the company, leading to a massive foodborne illness outbreak, a federal judge in Colorado ruled June 7 in granting the defendants' motion to dismiss (Sean Gubricky v. Steve Ells, et al., No. 16-2011, D. Colo.).