U.S. Fifth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Imprudence Claims

In What's New in ERISA Litigation?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

A putative class of participants in and beneficiaries of the Idearc Retirement Plan brought claims for breach of loylaty and imprudence in the management and administration of the plan – a “defined contribution” or “individual account” plan, allowing participants to contribute to the plan and invest their contributions in a variety of pre-selected investment options, including Idearc stock. The plaintiffs …

U.S. Fifth Circuit Reverses Denial of Life Insurance Benefits where Plan Administrator Fails to Address Beneficiary’s Expert Report

In What's New in ERISA Litigation?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

Esther White was the beneficiary of her husband’s life insurance policies governed by ERISA, which contained exclusions where death is caused, at least in part, by “intoxication” as defined by Arkansas law, or by the “voluntary ingestion” of any “narcotic” or “drug” that is not prescribed by a physician. Coverage was denied by the Plan Administrator, and summary judgment was …

U.S. Fifth Circuit Allows Hospital to Pursue Assigned Claims for Benefits Against Blue Cross

In What's New in ERISA Litigation?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

Innova Hospital of San Antonio sued multiple insurance companies and third-party plan administrators in Texas State Court as an assignee of the insurance benefits owed to the patients treated at its facility alleging that the defendants either failed to pay or reduced payment substantially. The action was removed under ERISA. The District Court dismissed the hospital’s claims, but the Fifth …

U.S. Fifth Circuit Strikes Down the Obama Administration’s “Fiduciary Rule”

In What's New in ERISA Litigation?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

The U.S. Chamber and two other business groups filed suit in the Northern District of Texas, challenging the “Fiduciary Rule” – a package of seven different DOL Regulations that broadly re-interpret the term “investment advice fiduciary” and re-define exemptions that relate to fiduciaries from ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code.  On appeal, the U.S. Fifth Circuit struck down the Rule. …

U.S. Fifth Circuit, En Banc, Reverses Pierre, and Holds that Review for Factual Determinations is De Novo Where Plan Does Not Afford Administrator Discretion

In What's New in ERISA Litigation?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

  “When an ERISA plan lawfully delegates discretionary authority to the plan administrator, a court reviewing the denial of a claim is limited to assessing whether the administrator abused that discretion. For plans that do not have valid delegation clauses, the Supreme Court has held that a denial of benefits challenged under §1132(a)(1)(B) is to be reviewed under a de …

U.S. Fifth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims in Connection with Radio Shack Bankruptcy

In What's New in ERISA Litigation?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

The RadioShack 401(k) Plan allowed participants to invest their deferred salary or company match contributions in over twenty investment options. The Plan had an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) that allowed participants to invest their retirement savings in RadioShack stock, which was held in the RadioShack Stock Fund. Plan documents required that RadioShack be offered as an investment option. If …

U.S. Fifth Circuit Holds that Penalty Action for Failure to Provide Plan Documents is Subject to Louisiana’s One-Year Prescriptive Period

In What's New in ERISA Litigation?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

“Babin primarily argues that the ten-year period should apply because his claim is based on a contractual and fiduciary obligation…. But analogizing §1132(c) to a breach of fiduciary duty does not help Babin’s case. Louisiana courts do not apply the ten-year statute of limitations to all breach of fiduciary duty claims. Rather, a breach of fiduciary duty claim is contractual …

U.S. Fifth Circuit Explains Savings Clause Affirming Dismissal of Suit for Life Insurance Benefits Originally Filed in State Court

In What's New in ERISA Litigation?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

Swenson filed suit in Louisiana State Court seeking benefits from a life insurance policy after her husband passed away. The insurance company refused to pay based on its belief that Swenson’s husband was not a covered employee at the time of his death. Swenson cited Louisiana statutes imposing certain requirements on group life policies concerning the rights of a discharged …

U.S. Fifth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Claim for Disability Benefits where Loss of Eye from Fungal Infection not “Accident” under Plan

In What's New in ERISA Litigation?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

The plaintiff traveled to West Texas twice in connection with his job, and developed a fungal infection in his right eye that was diagnosed as coccidioidomycosis. Medical providers determined that contact with a West Texas fungus caused the infection, which led to progressive loss of vision, and the ultimate removal of that eye. Disability benefits were denied based on the …

Southern District of New York Certifies (b)(1) Class Claims under ERISA for Mismanagement of 401(k) Plan

In What's New in Class Action Law?, What's New in ERISA Litigation?, What's New in the Courts by gravierhouseLeave a Comment

“Defendants object to class certification under Rule 23(b)(1) as improper in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decisions in LaRue and Wal-Mart. Although courts are split over whether Rule 23(b)(1)(B) remains an appropriate class vehicle for fiduciary-breach claims under ERISA, a majority have held that it is…. “Defendants argue that, because the Supreme Court in LaRue held that §1132(a)(2) allows …