Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Blog

The View from Proskauer on Developments in the World of Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation & ERISA Litigation

Category Archives: Statute of Limitations

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ERISA’s Six-Year Statute of Repose for Fiduciary-Breach Claims Can Be Tolled

The Eleventh Circuit ruled that ERISA’s six-year statute of repose can be tolled by the parties even though it is a statute of repose. During pre-litigation negotiations between the U.S. Department of Labor and a trustee of an employee stock ownership plan, the parties signed a series of tolling agreements, which delayed the filing of any … Continue Reading

Challenge to Pension Fund Investment Decision Time Barred

A federal district court in California held that a complaint filed by members of the International Union of Operating Engineers that challenged pension plan trustees’ decision to make certain investments was filed five days too late and thus barred by ERISA’s six-year statute of limitations.  In so holding, the court ruled that the limitations period … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Says “Regular Review” of ERISA Investments Required

ERISA plan fiduciaries charged with responsibility for selecting, monitoring or removing plan investment options should pay close attention to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Tibble v. Edison Intl., 135 S. Ct. 1823 (2015).  In that decision, the Court ruled that ERISA’s duty of prudence involves “a continuing duty to monitor investments and remove … Continue Reading

How to Settle an ERISA Breach of Fiduciary Duty Case and Sleep at Night: A Checklist for Plan Trustees to Consider

Plan trustees often look to settle ERISA fiduciary breach claims brought against them as a way to put the past behind them.  Assuming there is enough fiduciary liability insurance coverage available to pay the proposed settlement sum, the trustees may be prepared to put aside their desire to vindicate themselves for a challenged course of … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Holds ERISA Disclosure Claims Are Time-Barred

The Second Circuit recently held (in a summary order) that plan participants’ claims alleging violations of ERISA’s disclosure rules in connection with a cash balance conversion were barred by the statute of limitations.  In so ruling, the Court explained that because the participants’ claims that defendants breached their fiduciary duties by mischaracterizing the new plan’s … Continue Reading

Defined Benefit Plan Participants Have Standing to Pursue Fiduciary Breach Claims

A federal district court in Minnesota found that participants in a defined benefit pension plan had standing to assert claims that defendants breached their fiduciary duties by, among other things, shifting to an equities-only investment strategy that resulted in the plan becoming significantly underfunded and thereby increasing the risk of default. … Continue Reading

District Court Concludes Statute of Limitations Defense Must Be Asserted During Administrative Claims Process

Plan administrators sometimes are confronted with claims that appear untimely, but nevertheless focus solely on the substantive issue raised by the claim. A recent ruling from a federal district court in New Jersey suggests that the failure to address procedural issues may result in a finding that such defenses have been waived. In Becknell v. … Continue Reading

No New Statute of Limitations Each Time An Alleged Miscalculated Disability Benefit Is Paid

The First Circuit recently held, in line with other circuits, that the statute of limitations for a claim of underpayment of long-term disability benefits does not accrue with each monthly benefit payment made, but instead accrues at the time the underpayment is made known to the participant when he receives his first “miscalculated” benefit award. … Continue Reading

Defendants See Success With Limitations Defenses Post Heimeshoff

Defendants have recently received three favorable decisions involving contractual and statutory limitations defenses. In each case, a federal court held that claims for benefits under ERISA plans were time-barred. Costa v. Astoria Fed. Sav. and Loan Ass’n, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14292 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 4, 2014); Paulus v. Isola USA Corp. Ret. Plan, 2014 U.S. … Continue Reading

Fiduciary Breach Claims Barred by ERISA’s Six-Year Statute of Limitations

The Eleventh Circuit recently dismissed a participant’s fiduciary breach claims against SunTrust’s 401(k) plan fiduciary committee members on the ground that the claims for imprudently selecting certain investment options was time barred by ERISA’s six-year statute of limitations. Fuller v. Suntrust Banks, Inc., 2014 WL 718309 (11th Cir. Feb. 26, 2014). Plaintiff Barbara Fuller argued … Continue Reading

High Court Employee Benefits Cases: A Review and Look Ahead

Having settled into the new year, we reflect on decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 that are likely to have a significant impact in the world of pension and welfare employee benefits and, in some cases, already have had such an impact. The issues addressed by the Supreme Court are wide ranging and … Continue Reading

District Court Relies on Recent Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Plan Limitations Provision

A federal district court in New Jersey granted summary judgment in favor of New Jersey Bac Health Fund, finding the limitations provision set forth in the Fund’s SPD to be reasonable. Barriero v. NJ Bac Health Fund, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181277 (D.N.J. Dec. 27, 2013). Under the welfare plan limitations provision, participants seeking to … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Affirms Enforceability of Plan Limitations Provision

Resolving a split among the Courts of Appeal, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the Second Circuit in finding enforceable a limitations provision in a long term disability ERISA plan that set forth the length of the limitations period as well as when the period commenced. The plan at issue required participants to file suit for … Continue Reading

Georgia Federal Court Holds that Continuing Course of Conduct Did Not Extend Statute of Limitations Period for Fiduciary Breach Claim

In Stargel et al. v. SunTrust Banks Inc. et al., No. 1:12-cv-03822, (N.D. Ga. Aug. 8, 2013), a Georgia federal judge dismissed a putative class action against Suntrust Banks. Among the claims it dismissed was a fiduciary breach claim based on defendant’s failure to remove its own allegedly underperforming funds in its 401(k) plan. More … Continue Reading

View from Proskauer: The Supreme Court To Opine On The Use Of Contractual Limitation Periods in ERISA Plans

Last year, we reported on how the federal discovery rule – pursuant to which claims for benefits do not accrue until the participant could reasonably have discovered the claim – can require plans to defend the merits of dated claims. In that article, we noted that efforts to protect plans had taken the form of … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Case On ERISA Statute of Limitations

The U.S. Supreme Court announced on April 15, 2013 that it will take up the question of when the statute of limitations period may begin to run for filing a legal action for long-term disability benefits under an ERISA plan. Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., U.S., No. 12-729, cert. granted 4/15/13.… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rules on Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim in Investment Options Case

In Tibble v. Edison Int’l, 10-cv-56406, 2013 WL 1174167 (9th Cir. Mar. 21, 2013), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that 401(k) plan fiduciaries breached their duty of prudence in selecting investment options for the plan and unreasonably relied on a consultant’s advice because they could not prove that either they– or the consultant … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Rules Statute of Limitations Accrues Upon Receipt of Notice of Distribution From IRS

In Raymond v. Callebaut, 2013 WL 150232 (3d Cir. Jan. 15, 2013) (summary order), the Third Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling that dismissed plaintiff’s claim seeking benefits due under the terms of a 401(k) plan because plaintiff’s claim was filed more than fourteen years after it had accrued. Plaintiff’s claim was based on an … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Concludes Participants Have No Constitutional Standing to Assert Prohibited Transaction Claims

In David v. Alphin, 2013 WL 142072 (4th Cir. 2013), plaintiffs alleged that defendants engaged in prohibited transactions and breached their fiduciary duties by selecting and maintaining Bank-affiliated mutual funds in the investment menu for the Bank’s 401(k) Plan and the Bank’s separate defined benefit pension plan. The Fourth Circuit affirmed dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims. … Continue Reading
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