WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 25 in a per curiam opinion reversed the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling that participants in eligible individual account plans (EIAPs) sponsored by Amgen Inc. sufficiently alleged that the plans' fiduciaries breached their fiduciary duty of care imposed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by retaining company stock in the plans when the stock price was artificially inflated because the company was marketing risky "off label" uses of drugs (Amgen Inc., et al. v. Steve Harris, et al., No. 15-278, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 22 voted 2-1 to deny panel rehearing of its divided ruling that posthumous state court nunc pro tunc domestic relations orders constitute valid qualified domestic relations orders (QDRO) excepted from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act's anti-alienation and preemption provisions (Yale-New Haven Hospital v. Claire M. Nicholls v. Barbara Nicholls, No. 13-4725, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1089).
NEW YORK - The number of federal securities class action filings reached numbers not seen in seven years, as 234 complaints were filed, including 182 alleging violations of Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 10b-5 and Sections 11 and 12 of the Securities Act of 1933, according to a report released Jan. 25 by NERA Economic Consulting.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 25 denied PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP's petition seeking review of a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the company's cash-balance pension plan violates the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because it defines "normal retirement age" as five years of service, which the appeals court found "bears no plausible relation to 'normal retirement'" (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, et al. v. Timothy D. Laurent, et al., No. 15-638, U.S. Sup.).
PORTLAND, Ore. - A claim for distribution of $773,621.32 in retirement benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act was granted Jan. 20 by an Oregon federal magistrate judge, who deemed a plaintiff entitled to summary judgment (David C. Perry v. Barry Bloomberg, et al., No. 15-408, D. Ore.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6303).
GREENSBORO, N.C. - An allegation that three defendants violated the anti-cutback provision of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act with an amendment to their pension plan survived a motion to dismiss Jan. 19 in North Carolina federal litigation (Carolyn Wood v. General Dynamics Corporation, et al., No. 15-45, M.D. N.C.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In respective reply briefs filed Jan. 19, Anthem Inc. and related insurers argued in support of their motions to dismiss a putative class action over a January 2015 breach of Anthem's network, asserting that the plaintiffs did not adequately specify the allegedly breached contractual provisions (In Re: Anthem Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 5:15-cv-02617, N.D. Calif.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal magistrate judge on Jan. 19 refused to alter the amount of security posted by an insurer in a suit seeking coverage for the contamination of the insured's blood products because altering the amount would involve resolving issues that must be resolved by a jury or federal judge (Baxter International Inc., v. AXA Versicherung, No. 11-cv-09131, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6223).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 on Jan. 20 that an employee welfare plan fiduciary may not bring a suit under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 502(a)(3) to attach a participant's separate assets when the participant wholly dissipated a third-party settlement on nontraceable funds, concluding that such a suit was not permissible "equitable relief" (Robert Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan, No. 14-723, U.S. Sup.).
INDIANAPOLIS - A certified public accountant may testify as a layperson to opine that a defendant has the finances to pay off investors despite allegations from the U.S. government that the defendant defrauded investors, an Indiana federal judge ruled Jan. 15 (United States of America v. Jaime C. Lopez, No. 15-00069, S.D. Ind.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5239).
SAN FRANCISCO - Finding no error in admitting testimony regarding a defendant's status as a fiduciary, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 15 affirmed convictions on 24 counts of wire fraud, seven counts of money laundering and one count of investment-adviser fraud (United States of America v. Mark F. Spangler, No. 14-30042, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 681).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 14 denied rehearing of its divided ruling rejecting claims that State Street Bank and Trust Co. breached its statutory duty of prudence as fiduciary of the General Motors (GM) Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) (Raymond M. Pfeil and Michael Kammer v. State Street Bank and Trust Company, No. 14-1491, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 19536).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - In light of the "entirely unsettled" question of whether a jury trial is warranted in cases that question the validity of a plan document governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a North Carolina federal judge on Jan. 14 treated a jury verdict as advisory, deeming a widow entitled to $140,905 in benefits under her husband's group life insurance policy plan (American United Life Insurance Company v. Joanna Arthur and Steven Bruce Sumpter, No. 14-586, W.D. N.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4810).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 19 granted review of an insider-trading conviction in which the alleged inside trader has argued that determination of the "nature of the personal benefit an insider must receive for an insider trading offense" and whether "inaction . . . constitutes the 'deliberate action' necessary for willful blindness" is necessary (Bassam Yacoub Salman v. United States of America, No. 15-628, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A shareholder filed a securities class action lawsuit against a fitness-tracking device manufacturer and certain of its executive officers in California federal court on Jan. 11, alleging that the defendants issued a series of misrepresentations that caused the company's stock to trade at an artificially high rate in violation of federal securities laws (Brian H. Robb v. Fitbit Inc., et al., No. 16-151, N.D. Calif.).
BOSTON - More than 800 Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement actions were filed in fiscal year (FY) 2015, up from 681 in FY 2010, according to a report jointly issued Jan. 12 by economic and financial consulting firm Cornerstone Research and the New York University Pollack Center for Law and Business.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 11 declined to review a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling affirming a lower court's decision to deny leave to amend in a securities class action lawsuit (NECA-IBEW Pension Trust Fund, et al. v. Kenneth D. Lewis, et al., No. 15-562, U.S. Sup.).
ST. LOUIS - Compounding pharmacies are not entitled to injunctive relief against a pharmacy benefits manager for denial of claims in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act's claims regulation, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Jan. 11 (Grasso Enterprises, LLC, et al. v. Express Scripts, Inc., No. 15-1578, 8th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 11 declined to review a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' reversal of a federal district court ruling in a securities class action lawsuit against Bank of New York Mellon (BNYM) regarding its sale of certain residential mortgage-backed securities in violation of federal statute (Retirement Board of the Policemen's Annuity and Benefit Fund of the City of Chicago, et al. v. the Bank of New York Mellon, at trustee under various pooling and servicing agreements, No. 15-314, U.S. Sup.).