Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Blog

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

Tag Archives: ERISA

Best Practices in Administering Benefit Claims #2 – Know (and Read) Your SPD

Last week, we kicked off our blog series on the fundamentals of benefit claim administration with an explanation of how important it is to know and read your plan document.  The plan document is the legally binding contract that describes each participant’s rights and benefits under the plan. It also guides the legal obligations and … Continue Reading

Best Practices in Administering Benefit Claims #1 – Know (and Read) Your Plan Document

Our ERISA Practice Center blog posts often discuss many complex, and sometimes esoteric, substantive and procedural ERISA issues, as well as related agency guidance and case law.  In this new ten-part blog series, however, we take a step away from the complex and esoteric in order to review some of the fundamentals of benefit claim … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Enforces Hawaii Anti-Reimbursement Statutes Against Insured Plan

ERISA health care plans typically include reimbursement and subrogation clauses, which give plans a right to reimbursement of medical expenses paid on behalf of a beneficiary where the injury is caused by a third party.  While such provisions are common in ERISA health care plans, they sometimes conflict with state laws that prohibit plans and … Continue Reading

Digging into the New HRA Regulations, Part 2 – ERISA Implications

New regulations issued by the Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services have expanded the use of health reimbursement accounts (“HRAs”) by allowing reimbursements for individual market insurance premiums. As noted in the final regulations, Individual Coverage HRAs and Excepted Benefit HRAs are group health plans subject to ERISA. However, individual health insurance … Continue Reading

Foreign Nationals Don’t Have ERISA Claims

A federal district court in Pennsylvania held that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear a claim for disability benefits under an ERISA plan brought by foreign nationals working in the Republic of Kosovo.  The court explained that absent an “affirmative intention” of Congress that is “clearly expressed” to give a statute extraterritorial … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear IBM’s Challenge to Second Circuit Ruling in ERISA Stock-Drop Suit

In December 2018, we reported here that the Second Circuit became the first court at any level to allow an ERISA stock-drop claim to survive a motion to dismiss since the Supreme Court revamped the pleading standard for such claims several years ago.  The Second Circuit reinstated a claim for breach of fiduciary duty under … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Resuscitates Claims Against University 403(b) Plan Fiduciaries

Over the past several years, the ERISA plaintiffs’ bar has targeted university-sponsored 403(b) plans, arguing that the plan fiduciaries breached their fiduciary duties and engaged in prohibited transactions in connection with offering certain investment options and the administrative fees associated with such plans. Among other things, they have argued that the plan fiduciaries offered too … Continue Reading

Plaintiffs Not Entitled to Jury Trial for ERISA Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims

Massachusetts Institute of Technology persuaded a federal district court to toss a jury demand in a case alleging that the MIT 401(k) plan fiduciaries breached their duties by charging unreasonable administrative and management fees, engaging in prohibited transactions and failing to monitor those to whom the fiduciaries delegated their responsibilities.  In so ruling, the court … Continue Reading

Categorical Conflict of Interest Does Not Alter Standard of Review of Benefit Denials

The Second Circuit held that plaintiffs’ allegations that the defendant suffered from a “categorical potential conflict of interest”—because it both funded the plan and was the claim’s decision-maker—did not affect the application of the arbitrary and capricious standard of review in the absence of a showing by the plaintiffs that the conflict actually affected the … Continue Reading

Participants’ ERISA Retaliation Claim Dismissed

A federal district court in Illinois held that participants in a multiemployer pension plan failed to plausibly allege that plan fiduciaries retaliated against them in violation of ERISA § 510 by refusing to consider their employer’s offer to settle its withdrawal liability to the plan.  In lieu of paying withdrawal liability, the employer offered to create … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of ERISA Claims Against Health Insurers

The Ninth Circuit agreed that the employer-members of Montana’s Chamber of Commerce failed to state a claim for breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA § 502(a)(2) and violations of ERISA’s prohibited transaction rules under ERISA § 502(a)(3) against health insurers as a result of alleged misrepresentations in the marketing and negotiation of the insurers’ fully insured health … Continue Reading

Georgetown Prevails In ERISA Fee Litigation Case

A federal district court in the District of Columbia dismissed ERISA fiduciary-breach claims by participants in Georgetown’s 403(b) retirement plans that were predicated on allegations that the trustees invested in funds that allegedly charged excessive fees and underperformed relative to alleged comparable funds, and that the fund paid excessive recordkeeping fees.  To begin with, the … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Decision On“Cross-Plan Offsetting” Illustrates Importance Of Careful Plan Drafting

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently weighed in on a practice for recovering health plan overpayments known as “cross-plan offsetting.” In addition to shining a light on the controversial (but potentially useful) practice, the decision offers an important lesson in plan drafting that extends beyond the particular case. The case is … Continue Reading

[Podcast]: Fixing Retirement Plan Overpayments

In this episode of the Proskauer Benefits Brief, Paul Hamburger, co-chair of Proskauer’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group, and associate Katrina McCann discuss how to fix retirement plan overpayments, based on (1) the type of plan (i.e., defined contribution or defined benefit plan), (2) whether the overpayment was with respect to a lump sum or ongoing payments, … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Officially Proposes Delaying Fiduciary Rule’s Exemptions for 18 Months

On August 30, 2017, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) officially proposed delaying the applicability date of exemptions to its fiduciary rule until July 1, 2019. The proposal was expected after DOL stated in a court filing earlier this month that a delay proposal was under review by the Office of Management and Budget. This proposal … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Requests Additional 18-Month Delay of Certain Fiduciary Rule Requirements

On August 9, 2017, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) stated in a court filing that the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) is reviewing a proposal to extend the applicability date for certain requirements under DOL’s fiduciary rule until July 1, 2019. As discussed here and here the fiduciary rule’s “impartial conduct standards” have been … Continue Reading

Disability Claims Procedures Should be Updated for New Regulations

As open enrollment approaches for many benefit plans, employers and plans sponsors should check to make sure their claims procedures for disability claims are consistent with regulations that become effective for plan years beginning on and after January 1, 2018.  These regulations apply to ERISA-covered short-term and long-term disability plans, as well as retirement plans … Continue Reading

First Circuit Enforces Arbitration of ERISA Dispute

The First Circuit concluded that, pursuant to the applicable collective bargaining agreement, it was for an arbitrator, not the court, to decide whether the union’s claim that the employer failed to properly fund a defined benefit pension plan was preempted by ERISA. The First Circuit explained that the arbitration clause in the CBA clearly applied to … 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

District Court Finds Forum Selection Clause Unenforceable in ERISA Action

A federal district court in Illinois ruled that a plan’s forum selection was unenforceable because it conflicts with ERISA’s public policy of providing plaintiffs “ready access to the Federal courts.” Darlene Harris purchased a life insurance policy for her husband and paid the required policy premiums until his death.  When Harris sought the policy benefits, … Continue Reading

U.S. DOL To Issue Final Rule and Exemptions on Fiduciary Standards

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor will release its highly-anticipated Final Rule and Exemptions addressing when a person providing investment advice with respect to an employee benefit plan or individual retirement account is considered to be a “fiduciary” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and the Internal Revenue Code.  According to a … Continue Reading
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