Mealey's ERISA

  • June 21, 2024

    Summary Judgment Bid Fails In ERISA Row Focused On Fund Managers’ ESG Efforts

    FORT WORTH, Texas — A bench trial is scheduled to start June 24 in a high-profile class action over environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations and the purported proxy voting activism of investment management firms, with a Texas federal judge denying the defendants’ summary judgment motion on June 20.

  • June 21, 2024

    Claimant Failed To Meet Burden Of Showing He Is Disabled From Own Occupation

    CONCORD, N.H. — A disability claimant is not entitled to long-term disability (LTD) benefits because he failed to meet his burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that he is disabled as a result of narcolepsy from performing the duties of his own occupation, a New Hampshire federal judge said in denying the claimant’s motion for judgment on the administrative record and in granting the disability insurer’s motion for judgment on the administrative record.

  • June 21, 2024

    Disability Suit Dismissed For Failure To Timely File Suit, Exhaust All Benefits

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A disability claimant’s suit against a disability insurer and employer must be dismissed because the claim based on a denial of short-term disability (STD) benefits is barred by the disability plan’s one-year limitations period for filing suit and the claim based on a denial of long-term disability (LTD) benefits cannot proceed based on the claimant’s failure to exhaust all available STD benefits under the plan, a Tennessee federal judge said.

  • June 21, 2024

    Termination Of Benefits Under Any-Occupation Standard Was Reasonable, Judge Says

    COLUMBIA, Tenn. — A Tennessee federal judge adopted a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation to grant a disability insurer’s motion for judgment on the administrative record, agreeing with the magistrate judge’s finding that the disability insurer’s decision to terminate the claimant’s benefits was reasonable and not arbitrary and capricious.

  • June 20, 2024

    Termination Of LTD Benefits Was Not Abuse Of Discretion, Arizona Federal Judge Says

    PRESCOTT, Ariz. — A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in terminating a long-term disability (LTD) benefits claim because the termination was reasonable based on a lack of medical evidence in support of the claim, an Arizona federal judge said in entering judgment for the insurer.

  • June 19, 2024

    Former NFL Player’s Appeal Dismissed By 11th Circuit For Want Of Prosecution

    ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 18 dismissed a former National Football League player’s appeal in a dispute over additional disability benefits for want of prosecution because the former NFL player failed to file required disclosures and forms as required by the court.

  • June 19, 2024

    2nd Dismissal Ruling In ERISA Forfeiture Reallocation Cases Disagrees With 1st

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — Taking issue with the only other dismissal ruling in recent Employee Retirement Income Security Act cases filed against retirement plan sponsors for allegedly not putting forfeited nonvested matching contributions toward administrative expenses, a California federal judge granted dismissal with leave to amend a complaint that she called “a swing for the fences.”

  • June 19, 2024

    Oklahoma Federal Judge Says Disability Claimant’s Suit Fails To State A Claim

    OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma federal judge granted a disability insurer’s motion to dismiss a disability claimant’s suit after determining that the claimant failed to plausibly plead claims for a denial of benefits or a breach of fiduciary duty.

  • June 11, 2024

    9th Circuit Affirms ERISA Medical Necessity Ruling In Residential Treatment Row

    SAN FRANCISCO — Affirming summary judgment for an insured in a $182,410.14 dispute with a health insurer over reimbursement for a minor’s stay at a residential treatment facility, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel said in an unpublished memorandum disposition that the lower court didn’t abuse its discretion in considering two sets of guidelines and ruling the stay medically necessary.

  • June 11, 2024

    6th Circuit Affirms NLRB’s Jurisdiction In Audit Row Involving Multiemployer Funds

    CINCINNATI — In an unpublished opinion that drew a partial dissent, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel affirmed summary judgment against multiemployer trust funds that sought to compel an employer to submit to an audit under the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • June 07, 2024

    LTD Benefits Cannot Be Offset By Social Security Retirement Benefits, Judge Says

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A disability insurer abused its discretion for a third time by ignoring the language of the disability policy and contending that a claimant’s monthly long-term disability (LTD) benefits amount should be offset by the amount of the claimant’s earned-income Social Security retirement benefits, a Virginia federal judge said after determining that the plan permits an offset only for Social Security benefits paid because of a claimant’s disability.

  • June 07, 2024

    Oral Arguments Scheduled In Dispute Over Proof Of Continued Disability

    PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals scheduled oral arguments for July 9 in a disability plan’s appeal of a district court’s ruling that the plan abused its discretion when it terminated a claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits for failure to provide proof of a continued disability.

  • June 07, 2024

    Judge Denies Dismissal Of Emergency Appendectomy ERISA Claims

    LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge has denied dismissal of two core Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims by an insured who says United Healthcare Insurance Co. failed to pay for her emergency appendectomy at a network rate as provided in the summary plan description (SPD).

  • June 07, 2024

    Retirees Follow 9th Circuit ERISA Accuracy Ruling With Reassignment, Fees Requests

    SAN FRANCISCO — After the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals partly revived a putative class action over pension benefit statements for the second time, the parties are disputing a reassignment request in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act case, and the appellants have moved for $179,925 in attorney fees.

  • June 07, 2024

    Former NFL Player Files Notice Of Appeal After Dismissal Of Suit

    ATLANTA — A former National Football League player who claims that he is owed additional disability benefits filed a notice of appeal to the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, seeking review of the lower court’s dismissal of his second amended complaint based on a finding that he failed to exhaust all administrative remedies and failed to show that exhaustion would be futile.

  • June 06, 2024

    Reconsideration Of Latest Postjudgment Ruling Disputed In ERISA Conversion Case

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Continuing their long history of postjudgment wrangling, Cigna Corp. and its pension plan (together, Cigna) and the class that succeeded in some parts in a challenge to the plan’s 1998 conversion are disputing whether a Connecticut federal court should reconsider denying the class’s motions for an accounting or postjudgment discovery and to strike parts of a sur-reply and declaration.

  • June 06, 2024

    2nd Circuit Affirms That ERISA Expressly Preempts Claims In Reimbursement Row

    NEW YORK — Rejecting a medical provider’s argument that its causes of action arose from a legal duty based in presurgery phone calls with a claims administrator, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel issued a summary order affirming dismissal of state law claims the panel ruled are “expressly preempted” by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

  • June 06, 2024

    Mental Illness Limitation Does Not Apply, Disability Claimant Says In Complaint

    PORTLAND, Maine — A disability plan participant filed suit in Maine federal court against a disability insurer, claiming that he is entitled to reinstatement of long-term disability (LTD) benefits because the insurer wrongfully applied the plan’s mental illness limitation when it terminated his LTD benefits.

  • June 06, 2024

    In Amicus Brief, DOL Urges 11th Circuit To Ditch ERISA Exhaustion Precedent

    ATLANTA — Urging initial hearing en banc in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has filed an amicus curiae brief supporting appellants who seek the overturn of longstanding circuit precedent concerning exhaustion of administrative remedies in Employee Retirement Income Security lawsuits.

  • June 06, 2024

    Disability Claimant, Insurer Stipulate To Dismissal After Reaching Settlement

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A disability insurer and a disability claimant filed a joint stipulation of dismissal in Tennessee federal court following the settlement of the claimant’s long-term disability (LTD) benefits suit.

  • June 06, 2024

    Parties Settle Disability Benefits Suit Stemming From Long COVID Diagnosis

    MIAMI — A Florida federal judge ordered the parties in a long-term disability (LTD) benefits suit stemming from a claimant’s diagnosis with long COVID to file a joint stipulation of dismissal and administratively closed the case after the parties notified the court that they reached a settlement.

  • June 06, 2024

    Pharmacy Benefit Managers Lose Motion To Dismiss Alaska’s Opioid Charges

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A group of pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) lost in large part a bid to dismiss charges that they helped fuel the opioid epidemic in Alaska when a federal judge there ruled that the public nuisance and violation of the Alaska Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act (CPA) claims can continue.

  • June 06, 2024

    University Of The Arts Employees File WARN Act Class Suit Following Closure

    PHILADELPHIA — Nine employees of a Philadelphia university that announced May 31 that it would be closing its doors one week later filed a class complaint in a federal court in Pennsylvania seeking 60 days of pay and Employee Retirement Income Security Act benefits, alleging that the school violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act).

  • June 05, 2024

    Judge Won’t Certify Interlocutory Appeal Over ERISA Record-Keeping Ruling

    MINNEAPOLIS — A motion focused on allegations of commoditized, fungible record-keeping fees in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act case was denied June 4, with a Minnesota federal judge refusing to certify a partial dismissal motion for interlocutory appeal.

  • June 05, 2024

    Attorneys Get 27% Of $20M ERISA Settlement With 2 Groups Of Class Members

    ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A Pennsylvania federal judge on June 4 granted final approval of a $20 million settlement in a change in control (CIC) dispute over early retirement pension benefits and pension supplements; the settlement treats the 340 class members differently depending on whether they were terminated.