A federal district court in Ohio concluded that internal communications between a plan administrator and in-house counsel about a beneficiary’s first-level benefit claim remained protected by the attorney-client privilege, and that ERISA’s fiduciary exception to the attorney client privilege did not apply. In so ruling, the court explained that once the beneficiary’s counsel submitted a … Continue Reading
It is generally understood that communications between clients and lawyers are privileged and that the substance of those conversations may not be divulged to third parties except in the rarest of circumstances. In the employee benefits world, however, plan sponsors and fiduciaries are often surprised to learn that this cardinal rule does not always … Continue Reading
A recent opinion from a federal district court in Massachusetts provides plan sponsors and fiduciaries with a reminder that plan service providers should be excused from meetings where their attendance is not needed to assist in the provision of legal advice. If they are not, whatever attorney-client privilege that may have protected the confidentiality of … Continue Reading
Under ERISA, plan participants and beneficiaries have the right to obtain information pertaining to their benefit entitlements and the operation of the plans in which they participate. Sometimes these rights compromise the protections of the attorney-client privilege. Under the fiduciary exception, “an employer acting in the capacity of ERISA fiduciary is disabled from asserting the … Continue Reading
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