In Johnson v. Meriter Health Services Employee Retirement Plan, No. 12-2216, 2012 WL 6013457 (7th Cir. Dec. 4, 2012) (J. Posner), the Seventh Circuit affirmed the lower court’s grant of class certification of ERISA claims for declaratory relief under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(2), while acknowledging that individualized issues may preclude certification of claims for monetary relief  In so ruling, the Court held that the mere fact that some of the class members already retired and were receiving benefits did not alter the conclusion that their claims were properly characterized as claims for declaratory and injunctive relief.  With respect to the claims for individual monetary relief, however, the Court recognized that individual issues and defenses (including, for example, the statute of limitations defense) may preclude class certification.  The Court stated that certification under Rule 23(b)(2) would be warranted only if the award of monetary relief is just “a matter of laying each class member’s pension-related employment records alongside the text of the reformed plan and computing the employee’s entitlement by subtracting the benefit already credited [] to him from the benefit to which the reformed plan document entitles him,” since then “the monetary relief will truly be merely ‘incidental’ to the declaratory and (if necessary) injunctive relief (necessary only if defendant ignores the declaration).”  The Court also left open the prospects of certifying clams for individual monetary relief under Rule 23(b)(3) if individual issues with respect to the calculation of benefits precluded certification of monetary relief claims under Rule 23(b)(2).