ERISA Litigation

The Importance of Including Exhaustion Requirements in Plan Documents: Taking a Closer Look at the Sixth Circuit’s Decision in Wallace v. Oakwood Healthcare, Inc.

 ANGEL L. GARRETT, August 27, 2020  A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reminds plan fiduciaries once again of the importance of including claims and appeals procedures and administrative exhaustion language in their plans. See Wallace v. Oakwood Healthcare, Inc., 954 F.3d 879 (6th Cir. 2020). Often, plan fiduciaries […]

The Supreme Court Limits Standing to Sue in Cases Involving Defined Benefit Plans

JOSEPH C. FAUCHER and BRIAN D. MURRAY, June 8, 2020   On June 1, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Thole v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 2020 WL 2814294 (2020). The majority opinion — written by Justice Kavanaugh — is likely to have a significant impact on ERISA litigation involving defined benefit plans. […]

The Latest in Stable Value Fund Litigation

JOSEPH C. FAUCHER and BRIAN D. MURRAY, February, 2020    401(k) plan sponsors routinely offer stable value funds as conservative investment alternatives for their participants. Insurance companies that manage stable value funds invest in fixed income instruments, such as short- and intermediate-term government and corporate bonds and mortgage-backed securities. The funds are insured, so investors […]

Supreme Court Gives Plaintiffs Cover to Beat ERISA’s 3-Year Statute of Limitations

CLARISSA A. KANG and DYLAN D. RUDOLPH, February, 2020    On February 26, 2020, the Supreme Court settled a split among federal circuit courts of appeal regarding what it means to have actual knowledge of an alleged breach of fiduciary duty sufficient to begin the running of a three-year period to file suit on the […]

Supreme Court Remands Outlier Stock Drop Decision

JOSEPH C. FAUCHER and DYLAN D. RUDOLPH, January 27, 2020    For many years, courts have wrestled with the standards that apply to a fiduciary’s decision to offer stock of the sponsor company as an investment option in the company’s 401(k) plan. The struggle arose from two arguably contradictory provisions in ERISA. One provision encouraged […]

U.S. Supreme Court Considering Three ERISA Cases in October Term 2019

JOSEPH C. FAUCHER and BRIAN D. MURRAY, November, 2019 The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) has generated numerous U.S. Supreme Court decisions since its enactment, and this year’s term is no exception. The Court is currently considering three ERISA cases involving a range of significant issues. First, in Retirement Plans Committee of […]

Ninth Circuit Upholds 401(k) Plan’s Provision That Compels Arbitration and Prohibits Class or Collective Action

CLARISSA A. KANG, September, 2019  Last month, the Ninth Circuit held in favor of retirement plan fiduciaries to require arbitration of a participant’s claims for breach of fiduciary duty on an individual basis, rather than on a class action basis. Dorman v. Charles Schwab Corp., — F.3d –, 2019 WL 3926990 (9th Cir. 2019). In […]

Defined Benefit Plan Actuarial Equivalence Litigation — A Formidable Threat or An Unfounded Theory?

ANGEL L. GARRETT and BRYAN J. CARD, August, 2019    A new wave of putative class-action lawsuits filed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) has emerged onto the scene alleging that companies are using outdated mortality tables from the 1970s and 1980s in calculating alternative forms of benefits under defined benefit […]

Arbitrability of ERISA Fiduciary Breach Cases

JOSEPH C. FAUCHER and DYLAN D. RUDOLPH, February, 2019  This article was first published by the Journal of Pension Benefits: Issues in Administration, Design, Funding, and Compliance, Autumn 2018, Vol. 26, No. 1. Although the viability of arbitration rather than litigation in ERISA fiduciary breach claims remains to be seen, there are several considerations for employers who […]

Are ERISA Claims Subject to Arbitration?

DYLAN D. RUDOLPH and BRIAN D. MURRAY, October, 2018   In recent years, the number of lawsuits filed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) has grown exponentially. So, too, has the typical value of claims asserted in those lawsuits. With the increased risk and expense of litigation, employee benefit plan sponsors and […]

The Pleading Standard Applicable to Claims Involving Private Company ESOPs: Does Dudenhoeffer Apply or Not?

JOSEPH C. FAUCHER AND DYLAN R. RUDOLPH, DECEMBER 20, 2017   This article analyzes how Dudenhoeffer applies in cases involving stock of closely held companies. It was first published by Wolters Kluwer in the Journal of Pension Benefits, Summer 2017, Vol. 24, No. 4.   In our last article, “ERISA Stock Drop Cases Since Dudenhoeffer: The Pleading Standard Has […]

ERISA Stock Drop Cases Since Dudenhoeffer: The Pleading Standard Has Been Raised

JOSEPH C. FAUCHER AND DYLAN R. RUDOLPH, DECEMBER 13, 2017   This article analyzes the Dudenhoeffer pleading standard and “stock drop” cases. It was first published by Wolters Kluwer in the Journal of Pension Benefits, Spring 2017, Vol. 24, No. 3. I. Introduction  Before 2014, most of the federal Courts of Appeals applied a “presumption of prudence” when […]

New Wave of Retirement Fee Litigation: The University 403(b) Lawsuits

CLARISSA A. KANG, January 2017   The fiduciaries of retirement plans for 12 major universities have been hit with coordinated lawsuits asserting breaches of fiduciary duty arising from allegedly excessive fees for administrative and investment management services, imprudent selection and monitoring of recordkeepers and investment options, underperforming plan investment options, and a “paralyzing” array of […]

Are Trustees’ Employees Fiduciaries Under ERISA?

JOSEPH FAUCHER, November 2016  ESOPs have been a “national project” of Department of Labor (DOL) enforcement since the 1980s. But unlike other regulatory agencies, the DOL has put off issuing clear guidance—other than a proposed regulation that has never been finalized—regarding how fiduciaries should meet the standards articulated in ERISA… Click to Read More.  Published […]

The Fifth Circuit Emphasizes that Conclusory Statements will not Satisfy the Pleading Standard for Stock Drop Lawsuits

FREEMAN L. LEVINRAD, October 2016    On September 26, 2016, the Fifth Circuit, in Whitley v. BP, P.L.C. (“Whitley”), 2016 WL 5387678 (2016), emphasized that conclusory statements will not satisfy the pleading standard for complaints alleging breaches of fiduciary duty related to retirement plans’ investment in employer stock (commonly known as stock-drop cases), as established in […]

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