The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal on summary judgment of Plaintiff Rosemarie Cole’s claim that her employer, Permanente Medical Group, interfered with her receipt of pension benefits in violation of ERISA § 510. In so ruling, the Court explained that even if Cole established a prima facie case of discrimination under § 510 – by showing that Permanente terminated her employment eighteen months before she would have been entitled to additional pension benefits — her claim still failed because Permanente stated that it terminated Cole’s employment because she knowingly violated Permanente’s confidentiality policy, and Cole offered no evidence that Permanente actually had a discriminatory motive or that the person who made the decision to fire her was aware that the termination would negatively affect her benefits. The case is Cole v. Permanente Medical Group, Inc., No. 13 Civ. 15952, 2015 WL 3982534 (9th Cir. July 1, 2015).
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