In a case of first impression, the Ninth Circuit overturned 35 years of precedent and ruled that ERISA class action claims brought on behalf of an ERISA plan are subject to individual arbitration. The Court also enforced the arbitration agreement’s class action waiver and sent plaintiff’s putative ERISA class action to individual arbitration with relief
The United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of religiously-affiliated hospitals and healthcare organizations in holding that a pension plan need not be established by a church in order to qualify for ERISA’s church plan exemption. Petitioners are religiously affiliated non-profit healthcare organizations appealing decisions by the Third, Seventh, and Ninth Circuit Courts of…
With storm clouds threatening in the northeast, the Supreme Court cast a ray of sunlight for employers today by rejecting the use of a problematic inference in adjudicating claims for retiree benefits brought pursuant to collective bargaining agreements.
In the first reported ERISA decision post-Windsor, the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held (in Cozen O’Connor, P.C. v. Jennifer Tobits) that a same-sex spouse is to be treated as the decedent’s lawful spouse for purposes of entitlement to death benefits under a retirement plan. In reaching its decision, the court relied on Windsor and reasoned that ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code (Code) provide the definition of spouse; ERISA and the Code incorporate valid state law; and, under Illinois’ civil union statute, Illinois recognizes lawful same sex marriages solemnized in other jurisdictions.