Judicial Documents

Updates

The ERISA Industry Committee Files Lawsuit Against City of Seattle

ERIC today filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against the City of Seattle for obstructing the federal law that enables large employers to administer health and retirement benefits uniformly across the country. ERIC is requesting an injunction and a declaration from the court that federal law supersedes and preempts the health coverage and payment mandates in Part 3 of the Seattle Hotel Employees Health and Safety Initiative - SMC 14.25; ERIC hopes to work with the City and negotiate a temporary nonenforcement agreement, at least until a decision in the case is reached… More

The ERISA Industry Committee Files Lawsuit Against Oregon

ERIC has filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon against the Oregon Retirement Savings Board for obstructing federal law. In the complaint, ERIC is requesting an injunction against only the reporting requirement OregonSaves imposes on employers that already provide a retirement plan… More

ERIC’s Legal Complaint about OregonSaves State Retirement Plan: What You Need to Know

OregonSaves is the State of Oregon’s state-run retirement program. Signed into law in June 2015, the Oregon Retirement Savings Board was implemented and tasked with creating a defined contribution retirement plan for private-sector employees… More

protected content Supreme Court Holds for Companies and Statements of Opinions/Corporate Filings

The Supreme Court recently ruled in support companies and statements in its corporate filings by holding that public companies are not liable for statements of opinions that turn out to be false. … More

protected content Cert Request in RJR Pension Investment Committee v. Tatum

The Supreme Court has asked for the solicitor general to weigh in regarding whether it should grant cert to a case that would decide who bears the burden of proving a breach of fiduciary duty caused financial losses to a pension plan. … More

See All Updates

Amicus Briefs

ERIC Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Reverse Sixth Circuit Ruling on Retiree Health Vesting

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) in an amicus brief filed July 24 urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit holding that a company’s bargained for retiree health benefit was vested based on the Sixth Circuit’s “presumption of vesting” despite the lack of any language in an agreement providing for such. The case is M&G Polymers v. Tackett.… More

ERIC Files Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court on Retiree Health Vesting Case

Please find below a link to an amicus brief filed today with the U.S. Supreme Court by ERIC and ABC in the M & G Polymers v. Tackett case. The brief was prepared jointly by Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Proskauer Rose LLP. … More

ERIC Urges Appeals Court to Overturn District Court’s Misapplication of Fiduciary Deference under ERISA Plan

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) on June 18 filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit urging the court to overturn an earlier district court ruling that misapplied judicial precedent regarding the deference owed to a plan administrator’s reasonable interpretation of plan terms under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The case is Cottillion v. United Refining Company.… More

protected content ERIC Files Amicus Brief in Cottillion v. United Refining Company

ERIC, along with several other trade associations, earlier today filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Cottillion v. United Refining Company. The brief was prepared by Jenner & Block LLP.… More

ERIC Urges Supreme Court to Apply Presumption of Prudence in Plans with Company Stock

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) on February 3 filed (with other trade associations) with the U.S. Supreme Court an amicus brief in the Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer case, urging the Court to apply the presumption of prudence at the pleading stage of a lawsuit. … More

More Amicus Briefs

Court Rulings

protected content Supreme Court Holds for Companies and Statements of Opinions/Corporate Filings

The Supreme Court recently ruled in support companies and statements in its corporate filings by holding that public companies are not liable for statements of opinions that turn out to be false. … More

protected content Oral Arguments in King v. Burwell:  They Came, They Spoke, They Sat Down Again

Oral arguments in King v. Burwell were heard on Wednesday, and few pundits have failed to render an opinion. To me, the bottom line is… More

protected content Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Tibble v. Edison International

The U.S. Supreme Court on February 24 heard oral arguments in Tibble v. Edison International involving whether a claim that fiduciaries breached their duty of prudence by offering higher-cost retail-class mutual funds to participants instead of institution-class mutual funds … More

protected content SCOTUS Declines to Take on Windstream Case, Permitting Reduction of Retiree Health Benefits

The U.S. Supreme Court on February 23 declined to rehear a decision from the 8th Circuit Court that basically left standing an action by Windstream Corporation to significantly reduce retiree health benefits … More

protected content Second Circuit Rules for Plaintiffs in Amara v. Cigna

Earlier today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the district court’s finding of plan reformation in Amara v. Cigna Corp.… More

Second Circuit Ruling in Amara v. CIGNA Corp.

Amara v. CIGNA Corp. … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Retiree Health Case

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in the case of M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, which involves when retiree health benefits are considered to be vested. … More

protected content Supreme Court Declines Review of Fiduciary Breach Claims in Tussey v. ABB

The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced that it will not hear the case of Tussey v. ABB, despite encouragement from the Solicitor of Labor to hear the case. The Tussey case involved whether deference should be limited to fiduciaries’ decisions that relate to benefit claims. … More

protected content

District Court Denies EEOC’s Request for Temporary Restraining Order and Injunction against Company Wellness Program

Today, the judge in the U.S. District Court in Minnesota denied EEOC’s request for a TRO/PI, finding that the Honeywell wellness program inflicted no “irreparable harm”. … More

protected content Sixth Circuit Allows Plan to Restrict Where Lawsuits Can Be Filed

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a plan document can limit where participants can file suit. In Smith v. Aegon Companies Pension Plan, the participant retired in 2000 and began to receive benefits… More

protected content Court Approves Class Action and Reinstates Claim in Osberg v. Foot Locker

We wanted to update ERIC members on the latest developments in the Osberg v. Foot Locker case (in which ERIC previously filed an amicus brief on behalf of members with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals). … More

protected content Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case on Monitoring Plan Investments

The U.S. Supreme Court has indicated that it will hear the case of Tibble v. Edison International, which involves the selection and monitoring of plan investments and the amount of fees related to those investments.… More

protected content EEOC Leaps into the Wellness Fray AGAIN

The EEOC has double-downed on their rulemaking-through-lawsuit approach to wellness programs by suing Flambeau, Inc., for a similar violation of the ADA. … More

protected content

Oklahoma District Court Finds Individuals in Federal Exchanges Ineligible for Subsidized Coverage under ACA

The federal district court in Oklahoma today decided to vacate the IRS regulation under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that permits individuals in states with federal Exchanges to receive subsidized health insurance. … More

protected content Ninth Circuit Considers All Relevant Factors When Reviewing Fiduciary Decisions

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently examined the standard that applies when courts review a fiduciary’s benefit denial. The Court held that courts should consider “all of the relevant circumstances,” rather than upholding an administrator’s decision as long as it was reasonable.… More

protected content D.C. Circuit Court Agrees to Rehear ACA Case Involving Tax Subsidies

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia announced September 4 that it will rehear the case involving whether tax subsidies are available for both the state-based and federally-run exchanges (Halbig v. Burwell).… More

protected content SOL Recommends That Supreme Court Decide Fiduciary Duty Case

The Solicitor of Labor recently recommended that the U.S. Supreme Court consider to what extent fiduciaries are required to monitor investments on an ongoing basis in Tibble v. Edison International. In the Tibble case, the participants alleged that the plan fiduciaries improperly included retail-class mutual funds as investment options and violated the plan’s terms by allowing revenue sharing. … More

protected content Fourth Circuit Examines Fiduciary Duties

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled in Tatum v. RJR Pension Investment Committee on the requirements for fiduciaries when eliminating a plan investment.… More

protected content Mixed Results from Courts of Appeals on ERISA Preemption

In recent weeks, U.S. Courts of Appeals have provided mixed results when determining whether state laws were superseded (i.e., preempted) by ERISA. Several Circuit Courts of Appeals recently held that a number of state laws that impacted ERISA plans were not preempted by ERISA, while some courts held that other state laws were not. … More

ERIC Files Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court on Retiree Health Vesting Case

Please find below a link to an amicus brief filed today with the U.S. Supreme Court by ERIC and ABC in the M & G Polymers v. Tackett case. The brief was prepared jointly by Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Proskauer Rose LLP. … More

protected content High Stakes Drama at the ACA Corral

Today saw the publication of not ONE but TWO circuit court cases opining on the legality of granting tax subsidies to individuals who purchase health insurance through federally operated Exchanges as opposed to Exchanges operated by the states. … More

ERIC and Epstein Becker Green Release Summer 2014 Edition of Benefits Litigation Update

Attached please find the latest edition of the Benefits Litigation Update, a joint project of ERIC and the law firm of Epstein Becker Green. In this Benefits Litigation Update, we are focusing on … More

protected content SCOTUS Delivers This June’s Verdict on the ACA … and Contraceptives

Today the Supreme Court of the United States, in its last decision of the term, found that the HHS regulations imposing the “no-cost contraceptives” requirement of the Affordable Care Act violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 with respect to three for-profit, closely-held corporations. … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court Decides Stock Drop Case (Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer)

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion today in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, which involved whether the “presumption of prudence” applies at the pleading stage in stock drop cases. ERIC had jointly filed an amicus brief in this case, urging the Supreme Court to apply the presumption of prudence at the pleading stage.… More

protected content Supreme Court Decides Non-ERISA Stock Case

Although we are still awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer (with respect to which ERIC filed an amicus brief), the Supreme Court has issued a non-ERISA stock case that may have an impact on ERISA stock cases. … More

protected content ERIC Files Amicus Brief in Cottillion v. United Refining Company

ERIC, along with several other trade associations, earlier today filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Cottillion v. United Refining Company. The brief was prepared by Jenner & Block LLP.… More

Covington & Burling Reviews 9th Circuit Ruling Concerning Erroneous Pension Benefit Payments

Seth Safra of Covington & Burling recently reviewed a June 6 split decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit finding that a pension plan participant who received erroneous benefit payments is not entitled to equitable relief in the form of surcharge, estoppel or reformation (Gabriel v. Alaska Electrical Pension Fund). … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Retiree Health Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has announced that it will hear the case of M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, which involves when retiree health benefits are considered to be vested. … More

protected content Courts Continue to Decide Stock Drop Cases While Waiting for the Supreme Court to Act

As we await the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, the lower courts continue to apply the presumption of prudence (known as the Moench presumption) in stock drop cases. … More

protected content Additional Developments in “Excessive” Fee Cases

The subject of 401(k) fees continues to be litigated and is attracting the interest of both the press and possibly the Supreme Court. In response to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision in Tussey v. ABB, … More

protected content Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Stock Drop Case

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer yesterday. ERIC had filed an amicus brief in the case urging the Court to uphold the presumption of prudence (as recognized by most courts of appeal that have ruled on the issue) regarding employer shares fund and ESOPs. … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on ACA Contraception Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments recently, in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius, with respect to the contraception coverage mandated by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).… More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court Issues Adverse Decision in U.S. v. Quality Stores

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision today in U.S. v. Quality Stores, Inc. The case involved whether severance payments made because of involuntary separation from employment are considered “wages” and therefore subject to the FICA payroll tax. … More

protected content Eighth Circuit Finds Fiduciaries Failed to Control Plan Expenses

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision in Tussey v. ABB provided mixed results for plan sponsors. The 8th Circuit agreed with several other Courts of Appeals that the deference provided for fiduciaries’ decisions (when based on appropriate plan language) is not limited to benefit claims. … More

protected content Second Federal Court Rules against Challenge to Premium Subsidies on Federal Exchanges

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on February 18 dismissed a complaint challenging the validity of an Internal Revenue Service rule providing premium assistance subsidies to individuals who purchase health insurance through federally facilitated exchanges in addition to state-run exchanges (King v. Sebelius). … More

protected content Osberg v. Foot Locker Remanded by Second Circuit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on February 13 issued a decision in Osberg v. Foot Locker, remanding the case to the district court to determine whether the plaintiffs have shown they are entitled to plan reformation. … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in U.S. v. Quality Stores

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week on U.S. v. Quality Stores, Inc. The case involves whether severance payments made because of involuntary separation from employment are considered “wages” and therefore subject to the FICA payroll tax. … More

protected content Supreme Court Justice Temporarily Halts Enforcement of Contraceptive Mandate Against Nuns

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on December 31 issued an order temporarily blocking enforcement of the contraceptive mandate against a nonprofit religious group, ordering the federal government to respond by January 3 (Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Sebelius). … More

protected content Second Circuit Holds that Plan Administrator’s Interpretation of Plan Was Unreasonable

In yet another development in Frommert v. Conkright, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the plan administrator’s interpretation of the plan document was not reasonable, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s prior ruling in the case that deference must be provided to the plan administrator’s interpretation.… More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear ERISA Case Involving Determination of Class

The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced that it will not decide whether the class was appropriately determined in Lockheed Martin v. Abbott.… More

ERIC Urges Supreme Court to Confirm that FICA Taxes Do Not Apply to Supplemental Unemployment Benefits

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) on December 13 filed with the U.S. Supreme Court an amicus brief in the United States v. Quality Stores case, urging the Court to uphold an appeals court ruling that supplemental unemployment benefits … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court to Hear 401(k) ESOP Presumption of Prudence Case; ERIC Considering Filing Brief

The U.S. Supreme Court on December 13 agreed to hear another ERISA case in Dudenhoeffer v. Fifth Third Bancorp, involving whether the presumption of prudence typically available in stock drop cases should apply at the pleading stage of the lawsuit. … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court Rules that Plan Terms Govern Statute of Limitations

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life that a plan can specify a statute of limitations period as long as the period is reasonably long and it does not conflict with any controlling statute. … More

protected content

Ninth Circuit Rules that SEC Filings Incorporated into 401(k) SPDs Constitute Fiduciary Communications

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on October 23 ruled that statements furnished in Securities and Exchange Commission filings and incorporated by reference in a company’s section 401(k) summary plan descriptions (SPDs) are fiduciary activities… More

protected content Another Threat to the Viability of the ACA Exchanges

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on October 22 allowed a case to proceed that has the potential to deal a potentially life-threatening blow to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The case (Halbig v. Sebelius, D.D.C., No. 13-623), along with a similar case in an Oklahoma federal district court (Pruitt v. Sebelius, E.D. Okla, Case No. CIV-11-30-RAW), addresses the ability of an Exchange to offer premium credits and cost-sharing subsidies to enrolled individuals. … More

protected content Supreme Court Hears ERISA Statute of Limitations Case Concerning Benefit Claim

The U.S. Supreme Court on October 15 heard oral arguments on a case concerning when a statute of limitations should accrue for judicial review of an adverse benefit determination under ERISA (Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co.). … More

protected content

ERIC Legal Committee: Recent Cases Involving Class Actions and Deadlines for Suing Over Benefit Claims

Although summer is rapidly coming to a close, the courts have been busy with employee benefits cases. Debra Davis and I wanted to briefly highlight two of these cases for you, which involve what participants can be included in a class action lawsuit and how long participants are given to sue when their claims for benefits are denied.… More

protected content Federal Court Awards Spousal Death Benefits to Same-Sex Spouse in Wake of DOMA Ruling

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June that section three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional with respect to the federal government’s ban on recognizing same sex marriages, a federal district court recently ruled that the same-sex spouse of a deceased profit-sharing plan participant is entitled to spousal death benefits under the terms of the plan and ERISA. … More

protected content Fourth Circuit Upholds ACA Employer Mandate under Commerce Clause

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on July 11 ruled that the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act is a valid exercise of Congress’ power to regulate commerce under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. … More

protected content Coverage on U.S. Supreme Court Rulings on DOMA and Proposition 8

As you probably have heard, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26 issued its long-awaited decisions on the constitutionality of same-sex marriages, ruling that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause in the United States v. Windsor. … More

protected content Supreme Court Invalidates DOMA and Dismisses California Proposition 8 Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited decisions on the constitutionality of same-sex marriages. The Court’s holdings in these cases could have a significant impact on the manner in which employee benefit plans need to be operated. The Court heard two cases involving same-sex marriages – one involving state law and the other involving federal law.… More

protected content Verizon Lawsuit in De-Risking Case is Dismissed

The judge dismissed a class action against Verizon Communications challenging its decision to execute a “de-risking” transaction which transferred 41,000 retirees from its pension plan to Prudential Insurance Company of America. … More

protected content Supreme Court Rules that Plan Terms Govern in U.S. Airways v. McCutchen

The U.S. Supreme Court (in an opinion by Justice Elena Kagan) just ruled in U.S. Airways v. McCutchen that a plan is entitled to reimbursement pursuant to the plan’s terms.… More

ERIC Welcomes U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in ERISA Equitable Remedies Case

ERIC applauds a ruling issued earlier today by the U.S. Supreme Court holding that equitable rules cannot override the clear terms of a plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The case is U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen.… More

protected content Court Finds Fiduciaries Liable in Fee Litigation Case

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently found that fiduciaries violated their duties by failing to prudently select and monitor the… More

protected content

Sixth Circuit Appeals Court Finds PPACA Constitutional

On June 29, the first Circuit Court to decide the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the Patient Protection and… More

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Xerox on Deferential Standard of Review

The United States Supreme Court earlier today (April 21) in Conkright v. Frommert reversed a Second Circuit Court of appeals decision and… More

More Court Rulings

Judicial Documents

The ERISA Industry Committee Files Lawsuit Against City of Seattle

ERIC today filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against the City of Seattle for obstructing the federal law that enables large employers to administer health and retirement benefits uniformly across the country. ERIC is requesting an injunction and a declaration from the court that federal law supersedes and preempts the health coverage and payment mandates in Part 3 of the Seattle Hotel Employees Health and Safety Initiative - SMC 14.25; ERIC hopes to work with the City and negotiate a temporary nonenforcement agreement, at least until a decision in the case is reached… More

The ERISA Industry Committee Files Lawsuit Against Oregon

ERIC has filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon against the Oregon Retirement Savings Board for obstructing federal law. In the complaint, ERIC is requesting an injunction against only the reporting requirement OregonSaves imposes on employers that already provide a retirement plan… More

ERIC’s Legal Complaint about OregonSaves State Retirement Plan: What You Need to Know

OregonSaves is the State of Oregon’s state-run retirement program. Signed into law in June 2015, the Oregon Retirement Savings Board was implemented and tasked with creating a defined contribution retirement plan for private-sector employees… More

protected content Supreme Court Holds for Companies and Statements of Opinions/Corporate Filings

The Supreme Court recently ruled in support companies and statements in its corporate filings by holding that public companies are not liable for statements of opinions that turn out to be false. … More

protected content Cert Request in RJR Pension Investment Committee v. Tatum

The Supreme Court has asked for the solicitor general to weigh in regarding whether it should grant cert to a case that would decide who bears the burden of proving a breach of fiduciary duty caused financial losses to a pension plan. … More

protected content Oral Arguments in King v. Burwell:  They Came, They Spoke, They Sat Down Again

Oral arguments in King v. Burwell were heard on Wednesday, and few pundits have failed to render an opinion. To me, the bottom line is… More

protected content Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Tibble v. Edison International

The U.S. Supreme Court on February 24 heard oral arguments in Tibble v. Edison International involving whether a claim that fiduciaries breached their duty of prudence by offering higher-cost retail-class mutual funds to participants instead of institution-class mutual funds … More

protected content SCOTUS Declines to Take on Windstream Case, Permitting Reduction of Retiree Health Benefits

The U.S. Supreme Court on February 23 declined to rehear a decision from the 8th Circuit Court that basically left standing an action by Windstream Corporation to significantly reduce retiree health benefits … More

protected content Second Circuit Rules for Plaintiffs in Amara v. Cigna

Earlier today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the district court’s finding of plan reformation in Amara v. Cigna Corp.… More

Second Circuit Ruling in Amara v. CIGNA Corp.

Amara v. CIGNA Corp. … More

protected content Solicitor General Invited to File Brief in ERISA Preemption Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has invited the Solicitor General to file a brief to advise the Court whether to accept cert in the case of Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Retiree Health Case

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in the case of M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, which involves when retiree health benefits are considered to be vested. … More

protected content Supreme Court Declines Review of Fiduciary Breach Claims in Tussey v. ABB

The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced that it will not hear the case of Tussey v. ABB, despite encouragement from the Solicitor of Labor to hear the case. The Tussey case involved whether deference should be limited to fiduciaries’ decisions that relate to benefit claims. … More

protected content

District Court Denies EEOC’s Request for Temporary Restraining Order and Injunction against Company Wellness Program

Today, the judge in the U.S. District Court in Minnesota denied EEOC’s request for a TRO/PI, finding that the Honeywell wellness program inflicted no “irreparable harm”. … More

protected content EEOC Once Again Goes after Employer Wellness Plan; Files for Temporary Restraining Order

Yesterday the EEOC filed for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and an Expedited Preliminary Injunction in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota, claiming that Honeywell’s wellness program violates both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). … More

protected content Sixth Circuit Allows Plan to Restrict Where Lawsuits Can Be Filed

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a plan document can limit where participants can file suit. In Smith v. Aegon Companies Pension Plan, the participant retired in 2000 and began to receive benefits… More

protected content Court Approves Class Action and Reinstates Claim in Osberg v. Foot Locker

We wanted to update ERIC members on the latest developments in the Osberg v. Foot Locker case (in which ERIC previously filed an amicus brief on behalf of members with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals). … More

protected content Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case on Monitoring Plan Investments

The U.S. Supreme Court has indicated that it will hear the case of Tibble v. Edison International, which involves the selection and monitoring of plan investments and the amount of fees related to those investments.… More

protected content EEOC Leaps into the Wellness Fray AGAIN

The EEOC has double-downed on their rulemaking-through-lawsuit approach to wellness programs by suing Flambeau, Inc., for a similar violation of the ADA. … More

protected content

Oklahoma District Court Finds Individuals in Federal Exchanges Ineligible for Subsidized Coverage under ACA

The federal district court in Oklahoma today decided to vacate the IRS regulation under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that permits individuals in states with federal Exchanges to receive subsidized health insurance. … More

protected content Ninth Circuit Considers All Relevant Factors When Reviewing Fiduciary Decisions

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently examined the standard that applies when courts review a fiduciary’s benefit denial. The Court held that courts should consider “all of the relevant circumstances,” rather than upholding an administrator’s decision as long as it was reasonable.… More

protected content D.C. Circuit Court Agrees to Rehear ACA Case Involving Tax Subsidies

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia announced September 4 that it will rehear the case involving whether tax subsidies are available for both the state-based and federally-run exchanges (Halbig v. Burwell).… More

protected content SOL Recommends That Supreme Court Decide Fiduciary Duty Case

The Solicitor of Labor recently recommended that the U.S. Supreme Court consider to what extent fiduciaries are required to monitor investments on an ongoing basis in Tibble v. Edison International. In the Tibble case, the participants alleged that the plan fiduciaries improperly included retail-class mutual funds as investment options and violated the plan’s terms by allowing revenue sharing. … More

protected content EEOC Leaps into the Wellness Fray

In a complaint filed yesterday, the EEOC sued Orion Energy Systems Inc. The EEOC claims that Orion violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because it forced an employee to submit to medical exams and inquiries that were not job-related and consistent with business necessity as part of a wellness program that, according to the EEOC, was not voluntary. … More

protected content Fourth Circuit Examines Fiduciary Duties

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled in Tatum v. RJR Pension Investment Committee on the requirements for fiduciaries when eliminating a plan investment.… More

protected content Mixed Results from Courts of Appeals on ERISA Preemption

In recent weeks, U.S. Courts of Appeals have provided mixed results when determining whether state laws were superseded (i.e., preempted) by ERISA. Several Circuit Courts of Appeals recently held that a number of state laws that impacted ERISA plans were not preempted by ERISA, while some courts held that other state laws were not. … More

ERIC Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Reverse Sixth Circuit Ruling on Retiree Health Vesting

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) in an amicus brief filed July 24 urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit holding that a company’s bargained for retiree health benefit was vested based on the Sixth Circuit’s “presumption of vesting” despite the lack of any language in an agreement providing for such. The case is M&G Polymers v. Tackett.… More

ERIC Files Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court on Retiree Health Vesting Case

Please find below a link to an amicus brief filed today with the U.S. Supreme Court by ERIC and ABC in the M & G Polymers v. Tackett case. The brief was prepared jointly by Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Proskauer Rose LLP. … More

protected content High Stakes Drama at the ACA Corral

Today saw the publication of not ONE but TWO circuit court cases opining on the legality of granting tax subsidies to individuals who purchase health insurance through federally operated Exchanges as opposed to Exchanges operated by the states. … More

ERIC and Epstein Becker Green Release Summer 2014 Edition of Benefits Litigation Update

Attached please find the latest edition of the Benefits Litigation Update, a joint project of ERIC and the law firm of Epstein Becker Green. In this Benefits Litigation Update, we are focusing on … More

protected content SCOTUS Delivers This June’s Verdict on the ACA … and Contraceptives

Today the Supreme Court of the United States, in its last decision of the term, found that the HHS regulations imposing the “no-cost contraceptives” requirement of the Affordable Care Act violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 with respect to three for-profit, closely-held corporations. … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court Decides Stock Drop Case (Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer)

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion today in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, which involved whether the “presumption of prudence” applies at the pleading stage in stock drop cases. ERIC had jointly filed an amicus brief in this case, urging the Supreme Court to apply the presumption of prudence at the pleading stage.… More

protected content Supreme Court Decides Non-ERISA Stock Case

Although we are still awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer (with respect to which ERIC filed an amicus brief), the Supreme Court has issued a non-ERISA stock case that may have an impact on ERISA stock cases. … More

ERIC Urges Appeals Court to Overturn District Court’s Misapplication of Fiduciary Deference under ERISA Plan

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) on June 18 filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit urging the court to overturn an earlier district court ruling that misapplied judicial precedent regarding the deference owed to a plan administrator’s reasonable interpretation of plan terms under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The case is Cottillion v. United Refining Company.… More

protected content ERIC Files Amicus Brief in Cottillion v. United Refining Company

ERIC, along with several other trade associations, earlier today filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Cottillion v. United Refining Company. The brief was prepared by Jenner & Block LLP.… More

Covington & Burling Reviews 9th Circuit Ruling Concerning Erroneous Pension Benefit Payments

Seth Safra of Covington & Burling recently reviewed a June 6 split decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit finding that a pension plan participant who received erroneous benefit payments is not entitled to equitable relief in the form of surcharge, estoppel or reformation (Gabriel v. Alaska Electrical Pension Fund). … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Retiree Health Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has announced that it will hear the case of M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, which involves when retiree health benefits are considered to be vested. … More

protected content Courts Continue to Decide Stock Drop Cases While Waiting for the Supreme Court to Act

As we await the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, the lower courts continue to apply the presumption of prudence (known as the Moench presumption) in stock drop cases. … More

protected content Additional Developments in “Excessive” Fee Cases

The subject of 401(k) fees continues to be litigated and is attracting the interest of both the press and possibly the Supreme Court. In response to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision in Tussey v. ABB, … More

protected content Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Stock Drop Case

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer yesterday. ERIC had filed an amicus brief in the case urging the Court to uphold the presumption of prudence (as recognized by most courts of appeal that have ruled on the issue) regarding employer shares fund and ESOPs. … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on ACA Contraception Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments recently, in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius, with respect to the contraception coverage mandated by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).… More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court Issues Adverse Decision in U.S. v. Quality Stores

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision today in U.S. v. Quality Stores, Inc. The case involved whether severance payments made because of involuntary separation from employment are considered “wages” and therefore subject to the FICA payroll tax. … More

protected content Eighth Circuit Finds Fiduciaries Failed to Control Plan Expenses

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision in Tussey v. ABB provided mixed results for plan sponsors. The 8th Circuit agreed with several other Courts of Appeals that the deference provided for fiduciaries’ decisions (when based on appropriate plan language) is not limited to benefit claims. … More

protected content Second Federal Court Rules against Challenge to Premium Subsidies on Federal Exchanges

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on February 18 dismissed a complaint challenging the validity of an Internal Revenue Service rule providing premium assistance subsidies to individuals who purchase health insurance through federally facilitated exchanges in addition to state-run exchanges (King v. Sebelius). … More

protected content Osberg v. Foot Locker Remanded by Second Circuit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on February 13 issued a decision in Osberg v. Foot Locker, remanding the case to the district court to determine whether the plaintiffs have shown they are entitled to plan reformation. … More

protected content ERIC Files Amicus Brief with Supreme Court in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer

ERIC filed (with other trade associations) an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday in the Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer case. We urged the Court to apply the presumption of prudence at the pleading stage of a lawsuit. … More

ERIC Urges Supreme Court to Apply Presumption of Prudence in Plans with Company Stock

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) on February 3 filed (with other trade associations) with the U.S. Supreme Court an amicus brief in the Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer case, urging the Court to apply the presumption of prudence at the pleading stage of a lawsuit. … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in U.S. v. Quality Stores

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week on U.S. v. Quality Stores, Inc. The case involves whether severance payments made because of involuntary separation from employment are considered “wages” and therefore subject to the FICA payroll tax. … More

protected content Supreme Court Justice Temporarily Halts Enforcement of Contraceptive Mandate Against Nuns

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on December 31 issued an order temporarily blocking enforcement of the contraceptive mandate against a nonprofit religious group, ordering the federal government to respond by January 3 (Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Sebelius). … More

protected content Second Circuit Holds that Plan Administrator’s Interpretation of Plan Was Unreasonable

In yet another development in Frommert v. Conkright, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the plan administrator’s interpretation of the plan document was not reasonable, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s prior ruling in the case that deference must be provided to the plan administrator’s interpretation.… More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear ERISA Case Involving Determination of Class

The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced that it will not decide whether the class was appropriately determined in Lockheed Martin v. Abbott.… More

ERIC Urges Supreme Court to Confirm that FICA Taxes Do Not Apply to Supplemental Unemployment Benefits

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) on December 13 filed with the U.S. Supreme Court an amicus brief in the United States v. Quality Stores case, urging the Court to uphold an appeals court ruling that supplemental unemployment benefits … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court to Hear 401(k) ESOP Presumption of Prudence Case; ERIC Considering Filing Brief

The U.S. Supreme Court on December 13 agreed to hear another ERISA case in Dudenhoeffer v. Fifth Third Bancorp, involving whether the presumption of prudence typically available in stock drop cases should apply at the pleading stage of the lawsuit. … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court Rules that Plan Terms Govern Statute of Limitations

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life that a plan can specify a statute of limitations period as long as the period is reasonably long and it does not conflict with any controlling statute. … More

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Ninth Circuit Rules that SEC Filings Incorporated into 401(k) SPDs Constitute Fiduciary Communications

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on October 23 ruled that statements furnished in Securities and Exchange Commission filings and incorporated by reference in a company’s section 401(k) summary plan descriptions (SPDs) are fiduciary activities… More

protected content Another Threat to the Viability of the ACA Exchanges

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on October 22 allowed a case to proceed that has the potential to deal a potentially life-threatening blow to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The case (Halbig v. Sebelius, D.D.C., No. 13-623), along with a similar case in an Oklahoma federal district court (Pruitt v. Sebelius, E.D. Okla, Case No. CIV-11-30-RAW), addresses the ability of an Exchange to offer premium credits and cost-sharing subsidies to enrolled individuals. … More

protected content Supreme Court Hears ERISA Statute of Limitations Case Concerning Benefit Claim

The U.S. Supreme Court on October 15 heard oral arguments on a case concerning when a statute of limitations should accrue for judicial review of an adverse benefit determination under ERISA (Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co.). … More

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ERIC Legal Committee: Recent Cases Involving Class Actions and Deadlines for Suing Over Benefit Claims

Although summer is rapidly coming to a close, the courts have been busy with employee benefits cases. Debra Davis and I wanted to briefly highlight two of these cases for you, which involve what participants can be included in a class action lawsuit and how long participants are given to sue when their claims for benefits are denied.… More

protected content Federal Court Awards Spousal Death Benefits to Same-Sex Spouse in Wake of DOMA Ruling

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June that section three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional with respect to the federal government’s ban on recognizing same sex marriages, a federal district court recently ruled that the same-sex spouse of a deceased profit-sharing plan participant is entitled to spousal death benefits under the terms of the plan and ERISA. … More

protected content Fourth Circuit Upholds ACA Employer Mandate under Commerce Clause

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on July 11 ruled that the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act is a valid exercise of Congress’ power to regulate commerce under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. … More

protected content Coverage on U.S. Supreme Court Rulings on DOMA and Proposition 8

As you probably have heard, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26 issued its long-awaited decisions on the constitutionality of same-sex marriages, ruling that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause in the United States v. Windsor. … More

protected content Supreme Court Invalidates DOMA and Dismisses California Proposition 8 Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited decisions on the constitutionality of same-sex marriages. The Court’s holdings in these cases could have a significant impact on the manner in which employee benefit plans need to be operated. The Court heard two cases involving same-sex marriages – one involving state law and the other involving federal law.… More

protected content Verizon Lawsuit in De-Risking Case is Dismissed

The judge dismissed a class action against Verizon Communications challenging its decision to execute a “de-risking” transaction which transferred 41,000 retirees from its pension plan to Prudential Insurance Company of America. … More

protected content Supreme Court Rules that Plan Terms Govern in U.S. Airways v. McCutchen

The U.S. Supreme Court (in an opinion by Justice Elena Kagan) just ruled in U.S. Airways v. McCutchen that a plan is entitled to reimbursement pursuant to the plan’s terms.… More

ERIC Welcomes U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in ERISA Equitable Remedies Case

ERIC applauds a ruling issued earlier today by the U.S. Supreme Court holding that equitable rules cannot override the clear terms of a plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The case is U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen.… More

protected content Court Finds Fiduciaries Liable in Fee Litigation Case

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently found that fiduciaries violated their duties by failing to prudently select and monitor the… More

ERIC Urges Appeals Court to Affirm District Court Ruling Rejecting Class Certification in Alleged Fiduciary Breach Claims

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) on February 20 filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief, urging the Court to affirm a lower court’s ruling rejecting class certification concerning alleged fiduciary breach claims concerning stable value fund investments in money market funds. The case is Abbott v. Lockheed Martin Corp.… More

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Sixth Circuit Appeals Court Finds PPACA Constitutional

On June 29, the first Circuit Court to decide the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the Patient Protection and… More

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Xerox on Deferential Standard of Review

The United States Supreme Court earlier today (April 21) in Conkright v. Frommert reversed a Second Circuit Court of appeals decision and… More

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Press Releases

The ERISA Industry Committee Files Lawsuit Against City of Seattle

ERIC today filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against the City of Seattle for obstructing the federal law that enables large employers to administer health and retirement benefits uniformly across the country. ERIC is requesting an injunction and a declaration from the court that federal law supersedes and preempts the health coverage and payment mandates in Part 3 of the Seattle Hotel Employees Health and Safety Initiative - SMC 14.25; ERIC hopes to work with the City and negotiate a temporary nonenforcement agreement, at least until a decision in the case is reached… More

The ERISA Industry Committee Files Lawsuit Against Oregon

ERIC has filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon against the Oregon Retirement Savings Board for obstructing federal law. In the complaint, ERIC is requesting an injunction against only the reporting requirement OregonSaves imposes on employers that already provide a retirement plan… More

ERIC Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Reverse Sixth Circuit Ruling on Retiree Health Vesting

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) in an amicus brief filed July 24 urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit holding that a company’s bargained for retiree health benefit was vested based on the Sixth Circuit’s “presumption of vesting” despite the lack of any language in an agreement providing for such. The case is M&G Polymers v. Tackett.… More

ERIC Urges Appeals Court to Overturn District Court’s Misapplication of Fiduciary Deference under ERISA Plan

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) on June 18 filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit urging the court to overturn an earlier district court ruling that misapplied judicial precedent regarding the deference owed to a plan administrator’s reasonable interpretation of plan terms under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The case is Cottillion v. United Refining Company.… More

ERIC Welcomes U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in ERISA Equitable Remedies Case

ERIC applauds a ruling issued earlier today by the U.S. Supreme Court holding that equitable rules cannot override the clear terms of a plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The case is U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen.… More

ERIC Urges Appeals Court to Affirm District Court Ruling Rejecting Class Certification in Alleged Fiduciary Breach Claims

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) on February 20 filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief, urging the Court to affirm a lower court’s ruling rejecting class certification concerning alleged fiduciary breach claims concerning stable value fund investments in money market funds. The case is Abbott v. Lockheed Martin Corp.… More

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