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District Court's Discretion To Award Attorneys' Fees Under ERISA After Hardt

With respect to the exercise of discretion to award attorneys' fees under ERISA, what is the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hardt v. Reliance Std. Life Ins. Co. , 130 S. Ct. 2149 (U.S. 2010) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers / unenhanced version available from lexisONE...

Williams Mullen: Case Holds That ERISA Claims Based On Initial Investment Decisions Are Time-Barred

BY: MARK S. THOMAS & ROBERT W. SHAW In a suit brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended ("ERISA") against Bank of America and its Corporate Benefits Committee, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina held that certain...

Troutman Sanders LLP: Second Circuit Adopts Moench Presumption of Prudence in ERISA Litigation

By Pamela L. Signorello, Kim S. Orbeck, Terrence R. McInnis and Cathy A. Simon, On October 19, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of two putative class actions alleging that ERISA fiduciaries breached their duties to plan participants by imprudently continuing...

Tribune Co., Former Employees Reach $32 Million Agreement On ERISA Claims

CHICAGO - (Mealey's) The Tribune Co., which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, announced Oct. 20 that it has reached a $32 million settlement with former employees who had sued the company alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), which may provide Tribune with...

Tribune Reaches $32 Million Agreement With Former Employees To Settle ERISA Claims

CHICAGO - (Mealey's) The Tribune Co., which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, announced Oct. 20 that it has reached a $32 million settlement with former employees who had sued the company alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), which may provide Tribune with...

No ERISA Preemption for Unfair Insurance Practices in Montana

By Barry Zalma, Attorney and Consultant In 1987 the U.S. Supreme Court decided Pilot Life Insurance Co. V. Dedeaux, 481 U.S. 41, 95 L. Ed. 2d 39, 107 S. Ct. 1549 (U.S. 04/06/1987) , that held that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 88 Stat. 829, as amended, 29 U. S. C. §...

Sutherland Legal Alert: DOL Releases Final PPA Participant Advice Regulation

By Joanna Myers and Mark Smith On October 25, 2011, the Department of Labor (DOL) published its final regulation implementing the ERISA prohibited transaction exemptions for participant investment advice enacted in the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA). This final regulation brings to a conclusion...

Sutherland Legal Alert: ERISA Participant Disclosure Will Not Violate SEC Advertising Rules

By Mark Smith and Vanessa Scott In response to a request from the Department of Labor (DOL), the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on October 26, 2011, issued a no-action letter concluding that disclosure provided by a retirement plan administrator to plan participants that is...

Williams Mullen: Fourth Circuit Rules That Retirement Plan Trustees’ Failures Must Have Causal Link to Plan Losses In Order to Hold Trustees Liable: Plasterers’ Local Union No 96 Pension Plan v. Pepper, No. 10-1364 (4th Cir., December 1, 2011)

BY: MARK S. THOMAS & ROBERT W. SHAW 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 investments or to diversify those investments, unless there is a proven causal link between such...

Williams Mullen: Fourth Circuit Upholds Plan Administrator's Interpretation to Deny Disabled Doctor's Benefits Claim

BY: MARK S. THOMAS & ROBERT W. SHAW The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a plan administrator's interpretation of a long term disability plan and affirmed the denial of a disabled physician's claim for benefits in Fortier v. Principal Life Insurance Company , No....

Health Insurance at the Intersection of State and Federal Regulation: Confused Regulation of ERISA Fully Insured MEWAs

By R. Dean Conlin, Partner, Locke, Lord, Bissell & Liddell, L.P. Small employers have struggled to have the same funding and plan design flexibility and uniform plan coverage for group health insurance as larger employers. A fully insured, multiple employer welfare arrangement ("MEWA"...

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: Corporate Spin-Off and a New Retirement Plan Did Not Violate Employees’ Rights Under ERISA: Nauman v. Abbott Laboratories

BY: MARK S. THOMAS & ROBERT W. SHAW The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has affirmed [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ] a trial judgment against a class of former employees of Abbott Laboratories ("Abbott"), ruling against their claim that Abbott used...

Milgram v. Orthopedic Assocs. Defined Contribution Pension Plan

Do ERISA and the IRC prohibit enforcement of a money judgment against a defined contribution plan? In this Analysis, Barry L. Salkin of Olshan Grundman Frome Rosenzweig & Wolosky LLP addresses this and the other issues. He writes: SUMMARY : A defined contribution plan beneficiary sued under ERISA...

Options For Clients Who Offer Retirement Benefits For Domestic Employees, From Morrison & Foerster

By Wendy M. Greenberg, Esq. , Morrison & Foerster LLP We have previously discussed in this space the possible tax traps related to clients' gifts and bequests to their employees. This article continues in that vein to provide some practical options specifically for clients who would like...

Gabelman v. Sher: Defining a "Plan" Under ERISA

What is a "plan" under ERISA? In this Analysis, Barry L. Salkin of Olshan Grundman Frome Rosenzweig & Wolosky LLP addresses this question and discusses Gabelman v. Sher, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40334 (March 23, 2012) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], which provides...

Feeder Funds To Pay Nearly $220 Million To Settle Madoff Ponzi Scheme Fraud Claims

NEW YORK - (Mealey's) Four Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC feeder funds and several of their current and former owners and officers have agreed to pay nearly $220 million to settle claims that they breached their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by "recommending...

High Court Considers Whether Participant Must Reimburse Health Plan Under ERISA

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred in ruling that a health plan administrator's claim for reimbursement against a plan participant is subject to equitable limitations, including unjust enrichment, under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 502...

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...

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

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. ...

Supreme Court Says Health Plan Terms Govern ERISA Reimbursement Action Based On Equitable Lien

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) The U.S. Supreme Court on April 16 ruled that a health plan administrator's claim for reimbursement against a plan participant under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 502(a)(3) based on an equitable lien by agreement is governed by the terms of the...

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: 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: 7th Circuit Interprets ERISA’s Statute of Limitations for Fiduciary Breach: Fish v. GreatBanc Trust Company

By Mark S. Thomas and Robert W. Shaw The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Fish v. GreatBanc Trust Company , No. 12-3330 (7th Cir. May 14, 2014) [ enhanced opinion available to lexis.com subscribers ], has issued a decision that clarifies the rules for suits for fiduciary breach under ERISA. The decision...

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...