Whether a one-time payment of benefits constitutes an employee benefit plan under ERISA has been the source of some consternation in the courts for many years. The Fifth Circuit, in Atkins v. CB&I, LLC, recently had occasion to consider the issue and held that a bonus conditioned on completing a project was not an ERISA … Continue Reading
Participants in a voluntary separation program filed suit for breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA seeking additional benefits after learning that greater benefits were provided to individuals who did not participate in the program but were later part of an involuntary reduction-in-force. The Third Circuit concluded that the program was not an ERISA plan because … Continue Reading
In a benefits law edition of The Proskauer Brief, senior counsel Anthony Cacace and partner Robert Projansky discuss how severance plans can be subject to ERISA. They also discuss the key advantages of having severance pay arrangements covered by ERISA and what employers can do to design plans that comply with the substantive and procedural requirements of ERISA, but … Continue Reading
The Fourth Circuit recently concluded that a Sears employee’s state law claims seeking money damages based on denial of insurance benefits (for failure to submit evidence of insurability questionnaire) was preempted by ERISA. The Court explained that resolution of the state law claims required examining the plan to determine Sears’ obligations as plan administrator and making … Continue Reading
A federal district court in Kansas concluded that attaching a statement of ERISA rights, i.e., a two page document listing and explaining the rights and protections provided by ERISA to plan participants, to a life insurance policy did not convert the policy into an ERISA plan. Wichita Firemen’s Relief Ass’n v. Kansas City Life Ins. … Continue Reading
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