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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ ERISA Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ ERISA Legal News



Headline ERISA Legal News from LexisNexis®



 



Respondents, Amici Argue ERISA Requires Church Plans To Be Established By A Church
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The church plan exemption in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act unambiguously requires that a church plan be established by a church, the appellee-respondents in three cases consolidated before the U.S. Supreme Court say in their initial brief filed Feb. 16, a view shared by five amicus briefs filed in support of the respondents (Advocate Health Care Network, et al. v. Maria Stapleton, et al., No. 16-74, Saint Peter's Healthcare System, et al. v. Laurence Kaplan, No. 16-86, Dignity Health, et al. v. Starla Rollins, No. 16-258, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 515).



Texas Federal Judge Denies Groups' Motions Challenging DOL's Fiduciary Duty Rule
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Feb. 8 denied motions for summary judgment in consolidated cases filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (COC) and other groups opposed to the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) new "fiduciary rule" set to take effect April 10, saying that the DOL has not exceeded its authority and that the new rule does not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. Edward Hugler, Acting Secretary of Labor, et al., No. 3:16-cv-1476, consolidated with 3:16-cv-1530, 3:16-cv-1537, N.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17619).



Kansas Federal Judge Grants DOL Summary Judgment In Fiduciary Rule Lawsuit
TOPEKA, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on Feb. 17 granted the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit challenging the DOL's new fiduciary rule, saying that a plaintiff insurance agency failed to prove violations of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) as a matter of law (Market Synergy Group Inc. v. United States Department of Labor, et al., No. 16-cv-4083, D. Kan., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23155).



Labor Department Proposes Extension To Fiduciary Rule Applicability Date
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in a March 1 press release announced a proposed extension of the applicability dates of the new fiduciary rule and related exemptions from April 10 to June 9.



2nd Circuit Panel Says Pension Plan Participant Has Standing To File Suit
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 10 issued a summary order vacating a New York federal judge's ruling that a pension plan participant does not have standing to sue on behalf of himself, his pension plan and other similarly situated Employee Retirement Income Security Act plans over alleged improper fiduciary conduct (Landol Fletcher v. Convergex Group LLC, et al., No. 16-734, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2459).



Verizon Asks High Court To Deny Cert Petition In Defined-Benefit Plan Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Feb. 16 opposition brief, Verizon Communications Inc. says the U.S. Supreme Court should deny a petition for writ of certiorari asserting that a defined-benefit pension plan participant has standing to file a breach of fiduciary duty suit under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the lead plaintiff has not alleged a concrete injury (Edward Pundt, et al. v. Verizon Communications, Inc. et al., No. 16-762, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 537).



2nd Circuit Rejects Bid For Rehearing Of Ponzi Scheme Case
NEW YORK - In a two-sentence order, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 13 denied a motion to rehear an Employee Retirement Income Security Act lawsuit brought by pension fund trustees alleging that the fund's investment manager and its principals knew that investing in a Ponzi scheme was imprudent (Trustees of the Upstate New York Engineers Pension Fund v. Ivy Asset Management, et al., No. 15-3124, 2nd Cir.).



Missouri Federal Judge Won't Dismiss Employee Lawsuit Over Excessive 401(k) Fees
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Missouri federal judge on Feb. 27 denied a defense motion to dismiss an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action alleging that American Century Services LLC charged excessive investment management and record-keeping fees for its 401(k) plan and filled the retirement plan with proprietary investment options for its own benefit, saying that the plaintiffs' allegations state a claim for breach of fiduciary duty (Steve Wildman, et al. v. American Century Services LLC, et al., No. 4:16-cv-00737, W.D. Mo.).



Colorado Magistrate Says Class Action Lawsuit Against Oracle Corp. Should Proceed
DENVER - A Colorado magistrate judge on Feb. 16 recommended that a proposed class action challenging the fees in Oracle Corp.'s 401(k) plan proceed, saying that the plaintiffs have met their pleading obligations (Deborah Troudt, et al. v. Oracle Corp., et al., No. 1:16-cv-00175, D. Colo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22194).



High Court Denies Cert In Stock-Drop Case Arising Under ERISA
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 21 denied a petition for writ of certiorari in a stock-drop case arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Alex E. Rinehart, et al. v. John F. Akers, et al., No. 16-562, U.S. Sup.).



High Court Won't Review Ruling Tossing Claims Against Third-Party Administrator
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 21 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari in a case in which an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel affirmed the dismissal of claims against a third-party administrator of an employee pension benefit plan because it was not a fiduciary of the plan and a self-dealing claim was time-barred (Carolinas Electrical Workers Retirement Plan, et al. v. Zenith American Solutions Inc., et al., No. 16-731, U.S. Sup.).



Arkansas Federal Judge: ERISA Preempts State Law That Regulates PBMs
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - An Arkansas federal judge on March 1 granted a pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) trade association summary judgment on its claim that Arkansas Act 900, a law that requires PBMs to pay pharmacies the amounts those pharmacies spent to buy generic drugs from wholesalers, is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and denied the state of Arkansas' motion for summary judgment because Act 900 is invalid as applied to PBMs in their administration and management of ERISA plans (Pharmaceutical Care Management Association v. Leslie Rutledge, No. 4:15-cv-00510 BSM, E.D. Ark.).



Data Breach Class Claims Against Premera Mostly Survive Dismissal Motion
PORTLAND, Ore. - Although an Oregon federal judge on Feb. 9 found that some fraud and contract-based claims related to a 2014 data breach experienced by Premera Blue Cross merited dismissal, he held that the plaintiffs cured some previous deficiencies and concluded that their claims are not preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) (In Re: Premera Blue Cross Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 3:15-md-02633, D. Ore., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18322).



Texas Federal Judge Lets Cigna Units' Claims Against Surgical Centers Proceed
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Feb. 15 ruled that two Cigna units may proceed on their claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, civil conspiracy and injunctive and declaratory relief in an action alleging that ambulatory surgical centers waived payments for out-of-network patients but billed insurers as if the patients had paid (Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., et al. v. Elite Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery LLC, et al., No. 4:16-cv-00571, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21026).



Texas Federal Judge Denies Parties' Motions To Reconsider ERISA Preemption Ruling
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Feb. 6 denied motions to reconsider a Sept. 28 ruling that the breach of contract claims of an out-of-network hospital that Cigna Healthcare allegedly underpaid by using flawed data to calculate usual, customary and reasonable rates to reimburse out-of-network and emergent care services are preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (North Cypress Medical Center Operating Company, et al. v. Cigna Healthcare, et al., No. 4:09-cv-2556, S.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16076).



Judge Remands Implied Insurance Contract Claims As Outside ERISA
NEWARK, N.J. - A neurosurgical specialist's claim seeking payment for out-of-network care is based on an implied contract providing a separate and independent basis for recovery and thus is not preempted by ERISA, a federal judge in New Jersey held Feb. 17 in remanding the case (North Jersey Brain & Spine Center v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-1544, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22710).



Connecticut Federal Judge Rules For, Against Honeywell In Medical Coverage Dispute
HARTFORD, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on Feb. 28 granted summary judgment in favor of Honeywell International Inc., finding that union employees who retired after the expiration of collective bargaining and related agreements that offered them lifetime medical coverage benefits are not contractually vested (David Kelly, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. 3:16-cv-00543, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28203).



Ohio Federal Judge Rules Honeywell Can't Cut Retiree Lifetime Health Benefits
DAYTON, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge on Feb. 28 found that plaintiffs satisfied their burden of proving that Honeywell International Inc. agreed to provide lifetime health care benefits to retirees from its Greenville, Ohio, plant and permanently enjoined the company from dropping the benefits for those who retired from the plant before June 1, 2012, and their eligible spouses and dependents (Barbara Fletcher, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. 3:16-cv-302, S.D. Ohio, Western Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28324).



New Jersey Federal Judge Remands Health Insurance Case For Further Review
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Feb. 14 remanded for further administrative review a case in which a plaintiff challenged a health insurance benefits determination, saying the claims processor had not provided enough evidence related to the determination for the court to make a ruling (Patient C.E. v. Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, No. 14-6950, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20343).



Judge: ERISA Preempts Provider's Contract Claim Against Insurer
GREENSBORO, N.C. - A substance abuse provider's claims that an insurer failed to pay for medically necessary treatments are preempted by ERISA or fail to state a claim, a federal judge in North Carolina held Feb. 9 (Bobby P. Kearney, M.D., PLLC, v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, et al., No. 16-191, M.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18428).



Judge Permits Late Class Claims In Insurance Spat Involving Autism Treatment
BENTON, Ill. - Plaintiffs' failure to include class allegations in their complaint does not excuse the oversight, but because an insurer was on notice of the claims, the late addition does not warrant denying leave to amend in a case challenging the reduction of coverage for autism treatments, a federal judge in Indiana held Feb. 15 (W.P., et al. v. Anthem Insurance Companies Inc., No. 15-562, S.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21424).



8th Circuit Panel Affirms Ruling On Enhanced Benefits For Anheuser Busch Pensioners
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 22 affirmed in part a Missouri federal judge's ruling that participants in the Anheuser-Busch Cos. Pension Plan are entitled to enhanced pension benefits, saying that a plan administrator cannot contradict the plain language of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan to deny benefits, but reversed and remanded for a calculation of benefits owed to individual class members (Brian Knowlton, et al. v. Anheuser-Busch Cos. Pension Plan, et al., No. 15-3538, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3115).



Kentucky Federal Judge: Dispute Over Agreement Fails To State Claim Under ERISA
LONDON, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on Feb. 7 granted a university's motion to dismiss a claim that a disputed agreement that would give the university's former president lifetime retirement benefits, including health insurance, was a denial of Employee Retirement Income Security Act-protected benefits because the agreement is not governed by ERISA (Dr. James Taylor, et al. v. University of the Cumberlands, No. 6:16-cv-109, E.D. Ky., Southern Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17005).



Washington Appeals Panel: Garnishment Of Plan Assets Proper Under ERISA, State Law
SEATTLE - A Washington appellate panel on Feb. 13 affirmed that garnishment of a pension's assets was proper under both the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and Washington state's garnishment law, Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 6.15020, because Washington law does not "relate to" ERISA and, therefore, neither is preempted (Jack A. Johnson v. Clyde E. Carlson, et al., No. 7424001, Wash. App., Div. 1, 2017 Wash. App. LEXIS 342).



New York Federal Magistrate Advises $4.5 Million Fee For Pension Plan Withdrawal
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A New York federal magistrate judge on Feb. 7 recommended that a federal judge require a trucking company to pay more than $4.5 million in withdrawal liability for allegedly withholding payments from multiemployer pension plan funds pending an arbitrator's determination of the reasonableness of the amount (Thomas Gesualdi, et al. v. Scara-Mix Inc., No. 2:14cv765, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18059).



9th Circuit Panel: Judge Erred In Holding Job Resignation 'Voluntary'
PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 17 remanded an Employee Retirement Income Security Act case with instructions to enter summary judgment in favor of a man whose late wife lost her severance pay when she was forced to leave her job because of a disabling illness, saying a California judge erred in ruling that it was a "voluntary resignation" (Stanley Hoffman, et al. v. American Society for Techion-Israel Institute of Technology, No. 15-55756, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2837).



LTD Plan Was Not Granted Discretionary Authority, 1st Circuit Panel Determines
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 1 reversed a federal court's ruling that a disability insurer was delegated with discretionary authority and directed the lower court to review a claimant's termination of benefits under a de novo standard of review (Nilda Rodriguez-Lopez v. Triple-S Vida, Inc., No. 15-2413, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3729).



New York Federal Judge Says Administrator Failed To Prove Extension Was Warranted
NEW YORK - Because a plan administrator failed to prove that special circumstances existed when it extended the allowable time to issue a decision on appeal, a New York federal judge on Feb. 28 concluded that a de novo standard of review is appropriate (Katherine Salisbury v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 15-9799, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27983).



California Federal Judge OKs Settlement In Dispute Over Offset Of Veterans' Benefits
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal on March 1 approved a class action settlement between former U.S. veterans and Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston after determining that the terms of the settlement, which provides compensation to class members whose disability benefits were offset or reduced by Liberty Life, are reasonable (James L. Bush v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, et al., No. 14-1507, N.D. Calif.).



6th Circuit Finds Disability Coverage Claims Preempted By ERISA
CINCINNATI - After finding that a former marketing director's claims for coverage against a medical review company were completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 17 affirmed dismissal of the claims and found that a previous lawsuit filed against a plan administrator was the proper recourse (James Hackney v. Allmed Healthcare Management Inc., No. 16-5651, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2877).



9th Circuit Panel Upholds Plan's Offset Of Disability Benefits
SAN FRANCISCO - Plan language clearly allowed an insurer to offset permanent partial disability benefits by the amount of long-term disability benefits the employee received, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Feb. 16 in an unpublished opinion (John Del Gallego v. Wells Fargo & Co. Long Term Disability Plan, et al., No. 15-15294, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2753).



10th Circuit Panel Finds No Evidence That Employer Created Hostile Environment
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 24 affirmed that an employer did not create a hostile work environment after learning of an employee's disability because the employee failed to submit sufficient evidence that he was subject to a hostile work environment as a result of his disability (Steven R. Williams v. FedEx Corporate Services, et al., No. 16-4032, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3364).



High Court Denies Cert In Case Over Termination Of Long-Term Benefits
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 21 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari in a case in which the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said a district court did not err in determining that a disability plan did not wrongfully terminate a claimant's long-term disability benefits (Elizabeth Jenkins v. Grant Thornton LLP, et al., No. 16-682, U.S. Sup.).



Federal Judge: ERISA Stock Ownership Plan Cannot Seek Recovery Under Crime Policy
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Feb. 9 held that a third-party holding corporate stock cannot seek coverage under an insurance policy's plain language that limits coverage to "direct" losses when a corporate officer committed fraud that caused the devaluation of the corporation's stock (HC4, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, No. 16-00090, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19605).



United States Tells High Court Church Plan Exemption Applies To Church Agencies
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States on Jan. 24 in an amicus brief asked the U.S. Supreme Court to follow the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.'s longstanding conclusion that a plan need only be "maintained" by a qualifying church-affiliated organization and not be "established" by a church to qualify for the church plan exemption to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Advocate Health Care Network, et al. v. Maria Stapleton, et al., No. 16-74, Saint Peter's Healthcare System, et al. v. Laurence Kaplan, No. 16-86, Dignity Health, et al. v. Starla Rollins, No. 16-258, U.S. Sup.).



Puerto Rico Federal Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss Church Plan Class Action
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A Puerto Rico federal judge on Jan. 27 adopted a magistrate judge's report and recommendation and denied pension plans' motion to dismiss an amended class action complaint alleging breaches of fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, saying the factual record must be developed before a summary judgment motion could be considered (Ivette M. Martinez-Gonzalez, et al. v. Catholic Schools of the Archioceses of San Juan Pension Plan, et al., No. 16-2077, D. Puerto Rico, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11903).



8th Circuits Finds ERISA Preempts Iowa Generic Drug Pricing Law
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Finding that an Iowa law pertaining to generic drug pricing expressly and implicitly refers to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 11 ruled that the state law is preempted by ERISA, reversing a trial court judgment dismissing the declaratory action brought against Iowa's insurance commissioner and attorney general (Pharmaceutical Care Management Association v. Nick Gerhart, et al., No. 15-3292, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 476).



1st Circuit: Dispute Between Union, Employer Belongs In Arbitration
BOSTON - A decision on whether a nurses union may proceed with allegations that a successor employer violated an agreement when it refused to submit a pending grievance to arbitration should be made by an arbitrator and not the courts, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 3 (Prime Healthcare Services - Landmark LLC v. United Nurses and Allied Professionals, Local 5067, No. 16-1161, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2038).



4th Circuit Panel Affirms State Law Claims Are Preempted By ERISA
RICHMOND, Va. - In a case in which an employee alleged that his employer improperly administered life insurance benefits, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 27 affirmed a federal judge's decision dismissing the complaint alleging misrepresentation, constructive fraud and infliction of emotional distress because the Employee Retirement Income Security Act completely preempts these state law claims (Billy E. Prince, et al. v. Sears Holdings Corp., No. 16-1075, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1512).



Plaintiff's Claims Are Preempted By ERISA, Illinois Federal Judge Says
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Jan. 12 denied a plaintiff's motion to remand after determining that her state law claims arising out of the disclosure of medical records without consent are preempted by the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (Jane Doe v. Aetna Inc., et al., No. 16-8390, N.D. Ill.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4866).



Supreme Court Won't Review 6th Circuit ERISA Preemption Ruling
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 9 let stand a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling that affirmed the dismissal of claims that the Michigan Health Insurance Claims Assessment Act is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Self-Insurance Institute of America Inc. v. Rick Snyder, et al., No. 16-593, U.S. Sup.).



High Court Asks Government To Express Views In ERISA Indemnification Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 9 asked the U.S. solicitor general to file a brief expressing the government's views in a case that asks whether the Employee Retirement Income Security Act permits a cause of action for indemnity or contribution by a person found liable for breach of fiduciary duty (David B. Fenkell v. Alliance Holdings Inc., et al., No. 16-473, U.S. Sup.).



Judge: Bank Did Not Breach Fiduciary Duty In Its Response To Directions
NEW YORK - The Bank of New York Mellon's response to investment directions provided by representatives of a pension plan in investing a portion of the plan's in cash equivalents instead of equities did not "fall below the floor" imposed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a federal judge in New York ruled Jan. 9 (Richard Harley, et al. v. The Bank of New York Mellon, No. 15-8898, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3068).



Missouri Federal Judge Lets ERISA Class Action Against Edward D. Jones Proceed
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on Jan. 26 refused to dismiss a putative class action alleging breach of fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, saying that a participant in an employer profit-sharing and 401(k) plan's complaint provided sufficient facts to plausibly state these claims (Charlene F. McDonald, et al. v. Edward D. Jones & Co., et al., No. 4:16 CV 1346, E.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10820).



Rhode Island Magistrate Again Recommends Dismissal Of Investment Option Lawsuit
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A Rhode Island magistrate judge in a Jan. 31 report recommended dismissal of an amended complaint arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act alleging that CVS Health Corp., its employee benefits plan committee and the manager of one of the plan's investment options breached their fiduciary duties, saying that new material in the complaint is insufficient to permit an inference of imprudence (Mary Barchock, et al. v. CVS Health Corp., et al., No. 1:16-cv-00061, D. R.I.).



Judge: Hospital Has Standing To Sue Insurer For Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Under ERISA
DAVENPORT, Iowa - A federal judge in Iowa on Jan. 7 held that a hospital has standing to sue its health benefits plan sponsor and administrator for breach of fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Keokuk Area Hospital Inc. v. Two Rivers Insurance Company, d/b/a Employee Benefit Systems, Inc., No. 16-00066, S.D. Iowa, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2449).



DOL Releases FAQs On New Fiduciary Duty Rules To Take Affect April 10
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in a January report released a frequently asked questions (FAQs) publication to tell investors about their rights as consumers of products and services governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.



Michigan Tribe, Blue Cross Settle ERISA Plan Administration Claims
DETROIT - Michigan's Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and Blue Cross Blue Shield have settled the tribe's claims that Blue Cross breached its fiduciary duty and violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in administering the tribe's health care plan for employees, according to a dismissal order filed Jan. 11 in federal court (Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 2:15-cv-13708, E.D. Mich.).



J.C. Penney To Settle Plan Losses Class Suit For $4.5 Million
TYLER, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 3 granted preliminary approval of a $4.5 million settlement to be paid by J.C. Penney Corp. Inc. to end a class suit accusing the retailer of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by allowing the J.C. Penney Corporation Inc. Savings, Profit Sharing and Stock Ownership Plan (the plan) to remain invested in the J.C. Penney Common Stock Fund when it should have known the stock was being traded at an artificially inflated price due to misrepresentations by J.C. Penney senior officers (Roberto Ramirez, et al. v. J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc., et al., No. 14-601, E.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 389).



Panel Says Administrator Reasonably Determined Plaintiff's Years Of Service
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 11 affirmed a district court's finding that an administrative committee of a pension plan correctly calculated a plaintiff's pension benefits based on the plaintiff having accrued only 12 years of benefit service (George J. Vendura Jr. v. Jonathan Boxer, et al., No. 15-2387, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 528).



6th Circuit: Nunc Pro Tunc Order Did Not Restart Limitations Period
CINCINNATI - A woman's lawsuit accusing Chrysler Group LLC's pension plan of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by denying her request for benefits from her ex-husband's pension was not timely, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 11, holding that a state court's nunc pro tunc order did not restart the statute of limitations (Ardella Patterson v. Chrysler Group, LLC, et al., No. 16-1365, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 507).



Supreme Court Lets Stand 9th Circuit's Ruling On ERISA Pension Plan Definition
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 9 declined to review a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling that affirmed the dismissal of claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act against Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. (BAH) based on its conclusion that BAH's Stock Rights Plan did not qualify as an ERISA plan because its primary purpose was not to provide deferred compensation or other retirement benefits (Foster Rich v. Ralph W. Shrader, et al., No. 16-415, U.S. Sup.).



Judge Orders Health Care Fraud Defendant To Turn Over Retirement Funds
CHICAGO - A cardiologist who pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud for fraudulently billing Medicare and other insurance companies was ordered by a federal judge in Illinois to turn over three retirement funds valued at $300,738.60 after finding that forfeiture of the funds would not result in an overpayment of the $12 million he owes in restitution (United States of America v. Sushil Sheth, No. 09 CR 69-1, N.D. Ill.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2281).



High Court Will Not Weigh In On Application Of Single-Employer Doctrine
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 17 let stand a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that reversed the grant of summary judgment to four carpenter union fringe benefit funds that alleged that a general contractor failed to pay fringe benefits for work performed by nonunion labor as required by a collective bargaining agreement in violation of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Pension Fund, et al. v. Schal Bovis, Inc., No. 16-690, U.S. Sup.).



9th Circuit Panel Tosses Contract Appeal For Lack Of Subject Matter Jurisdiction
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 30 dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction an appeal of a California federal judge's dismissal of a breach of contract claim by a union pension plan against a national union pension fund (Trustees of the U.A. Local 38 Defined Benefit Pension Plan, et al. v. Trustees of the Plumber and Pipe Fitters National Pension Fund, et al., No. 14-16543, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1612).



Texas Federal Judge Dismisses Gender Identity Discrimination Claims
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 13 dismissed claims alleging gender identity discrimination under Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) against an insurer and an employer because the plaintiff failed to cite any controlling precedent that recognizes a cause of action under Section 1557 for gender identity discrimination (Charlize Marie Baker v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-3679, N.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5665).



Disability Insurer Waived Right To Assert Claimant Was Ineligible For Coverage
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Jan. 13 determined that by continuing to accept a disability claimant's premium payments, an insurer waived its right to assert that the claimant was ineligible for coverage under the policy (Arturo J. Otero v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 14-2253, N.D. Ala.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5119).



11th Circuit Affirms Insurer Did Not Abuse Its Discretion In Denying Benefits Claim
ATLANTA - A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in denying a claim for long-term disability benefits because the claimant failed to prove that she was disabled under the plan and the insurer's denial was reasonable based on the available evidence, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Jan. 30 (Susan Till v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-14799, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1589).



Plan Administrator Abused Its Discretion In Terminating Benefits, 4th Circuit Affirms
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 5 said a district court did not improperly find that a disability plan administrator abused its discretion in terminating a claimant's benefits because the evidence supports a finding that the claimant was disabled and the plan administrator's decision was not reasoned and principled (Stephen Wilkinson v. Sun Life and Health Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-2105, 4th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 201).



High Court Will Not Hear Issue Of Forum-Selection Clause In ERISA Disability Plan
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 17 denied review of a ruling by the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that enforced a forum-selection clause in a disability plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Lorna Clause v. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, et al., No. 16-641, U.S. Sup.).



3rd Circuit Says Man Must Reimburse Health Plan Based On Third-Party Settlement
PHILADELPHIA - A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 6 affirmed a ruling in which a man was ordered to reimburse a health benefit plan after he obtained a settlement from a third party for injuries he suffered in an accident, finding that the settlement was not a legal judgment prohibited by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan Board of Trustees v. Bernard McLaughlin, No. 16-1352, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 280).



Final Approval Granted To United Healthcare's Settlement Of Harvoni Drug Coverage
MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on Feb. 2 granted final approval to a class action settlement in which United Healthcare Inc. agreed to remove certain restrictions on coverage for treatment of hepatitis C with the prescription drug Harvoni (Ilissa M. Jones, et al. v. United Healthcare Services, Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-6114-RLR, S.D. Fla.).



California Woman Files Class Action Over Denial Of Breastfeeding Support
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California woman on Jan. 13 filed a class action complaint in federal court alleging that she and other women have been wrongfully denied access to and coverage for a vital women's preventive service - breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling - for which coverage is mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Rachel Condry, et al. v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., et al., No. 4:17-cv-00183, N.D. Calif.).



Amended UnitedHealth, OptumRx Class Action 'Clawback' Lawsuit Includes ERISA, RICO Claims
MINNEAPOLIS - An amended class action complaint filed Jan. 20 in Minnesota federal court against UnitedHealth Group Inc. and its subsidiaries and OptumRx Inc. over an allegedly deceptive "clawback" billing scheme includes claims of violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act (Kathy L. Fellgren, et al. v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., et al., No. 0:16-cv-03914, D. Minn.).



Judge Finds ERISA Exempts Self-Funded Plan From ACA Requirements
MINNEAPOLIS - A self-funded Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plan falls outside the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s essential health benefits requirement, a federal judge in Minnesota said Feb. 2 in adopting a report and recommendation partially rejecting insurance coverage claims arising from a fireworks accident (Jeffrey Jay Henrikson v. Choice Products USA LLC, et al., No. 16-1317, D. Minn.).



Federal Magistrate Grants Motion To Keep Insurer's Trade Secrets Confidential
OWENSBORO, Ky. - A Kentucky federal magistrate judge on Dec. 14 granted a disability insurer's motion for a protective order of confidentiality, finding that the information it wants to keep confidential qualifies as trade secrets because a competitor could gain an advantage over the insurer if it had access to the information (Paulette Owens v. Liberty Life Assurance Co. of Boston, No. 4:15-cv-00071, W.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172540).



2nd Circuit Panel Affirms Health Plan Not Entitled To Fees In ERISA Action
NEW YORK - In a Jan. 31 summary order, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel upheld a New York federal judge's ruling that a health plan is not entitled to attorney fees under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because a restitution claim against it was dismissed on summary judgment (Nicholas Scarangella v. Group Health Inc., et al., No. 16-568, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1684).



Full 9th Circuit Remands Tibble For Trial Of Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claims
SAN FRANCISCO - On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the en banc Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 16 unanimously voted to vacate a California federal judge's ruling in favor of an employer and its benefits plan administrator on breach of fiduciary duty claims in the selection and retention of certain mutual funds for a defined contribution 401(k) savings plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, saying a trial is needed to determine if the defendants should have switched from retail-class fund shares to institutional-class fund shares to fulfill their continuing duty to monitor the appropriateness of investments (Glenn Tibble, et al. v. Edison International, et al., No. 10-56406, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22366).



D.C. Circuit Panel Affirms Fiduciary Duty Claims Fall Short Under Dudenhoeffer
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 30 affirmed a District of Columbia federal judge's ruling rejecting allegations that the fiduciary of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) breached its duty by failing to prevent participants from purchasing or holding "doomed" stock, finding that the claims fall far short under the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer (Donna Marie Coburn, et al. v. Evercore Trust Company N.A., No. 16-7029, D.C. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 23396).



Defendants In USC 403(b) Plan Class Action File Motion To Dismiss Or Compel Arbitration
LOS ANGELES - The defendants in a putative class action alleging that the University of Southern California's (USC) 403(b) retirement plans charged excessive fees moved Dec. 19 in California federal court for an order compelling individual, nonclass arbitration and dismissal or, in the alternative, staying all proceedings pending the resolution of arbitration (Allen L. Munro, et al. v. University of Southern California, et al., No. 2:16-cv-06191, C.D. Calif.).



D.C. Circuit Panel Denies NAFA Motion For Injunction Pending Fiduciary Rule Appeal
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 15 denied an emergency motion filed by the National Association of Fixed Annuities (NAFA) for an injunction pending appeal from an order and opinion of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denying NAFA's application for a preliminary injunction and motion for summary judgment in its lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) fiduciary rule, which is set to be implemented April 10 (National Association for Fixed Annuities v. U.S. Department of Labor, et al., No. 16-5345, D.C. Cir.).



AARP, 6 Other Organizations Express Support for DOL In Minnesota Fiduciary Rule Suit
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on Dec. 21 granted a motion for AARP and six other organizations to appear as amici curiae in the support of the defendants in a case in which a membership-owned and member-governed fraternal benefit society of Christians sued the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez seeking judicial review of the DOL's issuance of regulations promulgating a new definition of investment advice fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which it says could expose it to breach of contract and class action lawsuits (Thrivent Financial for Lutherans v. Thomas E. Perez, et al., No. 0:16-cv-03289, D. Minn.).



2nd Circuit Panel Affirms Ponzi Scheme Investments Weren't A Breach Of Duty
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 8 affirmed a New York federal judge's dismissal of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act lawsuit brought by pension fund trustees alleging that the fund's investment manager and its principals knew that investing in a Ponzi scheme was imprudent, saying that the facts did not establish U.S. Constitution Article III standing because there was no cognizable investment loss and a breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA does not constitute an injury in fact sufficient for constitutional standing (Trustees of the Upstate New York Engineers Pension Fund v. Ivy Asset Management, et al., No. 15-31124, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21823).



D.C. Federal Judge Orders Document Production In Lawsuit Against PBGC
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Dec. 20 ordered the U.S. Treasury Department to produce more than 100 documents it has withheld in a civil action against the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC), saying that Treasury has "miserably failed" to explain its deliberative process privilege claims (U.S. Department of the Treasury v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., v. Dennis Black, et al., No. 12-mc-100, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175656).



10th Circuit Panel Affirms IRS Entitled To Collect ERISA Benefits For Tax Liabilities
DENVER - Denying two pro se plaintiffs' appeal, a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 16 affirmed a Kansas federal court judge's ruling that federal law permits the Internal Revenue Service to collect Employee Retirement Income Security Act benefits to satisfy outstanding tax liabilities (Edward Amador, et al. v. Boilermaker-Blacksmith National Pension Trust, No. 16-3090, 10th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22353).



7th Circuit Panel Affirms Employer Must Contribute To Multiemployer Funds
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 20 affirmed three Illinois federal judges' decisions that an employer is required to reimburse multiemployer union welfare funds for delinquent contributions, saying that the decertification of three of its divisions' employee union does not absolve the employer from its obligation to make contributions to the plans (Midwest Operating Engineers Welfare Fund, et al. v. Cleveland Quarry, et al., Nos. 15-2628, 15-3221, 15-3861, 16-1870, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22632).



7th Circuit Panel Affirms Teamster Funds Entitled To Contribution Shortfalls
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 21 affirmed an Illinois federal judge's ruling that three Teamster pension and welfare funds are entitled to collect shortfalls in contributions due from an employer under collective bargaining agreements, finding the employer's audit report to be unreliable (Teamsters Local Union No. 727 Health and Welfare Fund, et al. v. L&R Group of Companies, No. 16-2037, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22870).



9th Circuit Panel Affirms Properties Not Subject To Withdrawal Liability
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 23 affirmed a California federal judge's ruling that a husband and wife's rental properties were not subject to withdrawal liability under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because they do not constitute a "trade or business" (Automotive Industries Pension Trust Fund, et al. v. Tractor Equipment Sales Inc., et al., No. 14-17371, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 23204).



6th Circuit Panel: Insureds Lack Sufficient Injury To Claim Insurer Shirked ERISA Duties
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 21 affirmed an Ohio federal judge's ruling that hypothetical situations lack the necessary concrete injury required to pursue claims that an insurer shirked its obligations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Daniel Soehnlen, et al. v. Fleet Owners Insurance Fund, et al., No. 16-3124, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22914).



California Federal Judge Grants Partial Dismissal Of Suit Over Hepatitis Drug
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Dec. 22 once again granted in part a defendants' motion to dismiss a putative class action seeking injunctive relief from Blue Shield of California's denial of coverage for a drug to treat hepatitis C because Blue Shield has since amended its Harvoni policy and given notice to insureds that they can resubmit claims for treatment (Aram Homampour, et al. v. Blue Shield of California Life and Health Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-cv-05003, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177629).



11th Circuit Panel Affirms COBRA Ruling In Favor Of Fired Staffing Employee
ATLANTA - A 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 30 affirmed an Alabama federal judge's ruling that a staffing business employer failed to notify a plaintiff of his rights under the Comprehensive Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), saying that the evidence was sufficient that the former employee's health insurance was retroactively canceled in retaliation for filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint and that the employer was not exempt from the COBRA requirement to provide notice to the employee of the right to continuation of health insurance coverage (Sam A. Virciglio v. Work Train Staffing LLC, et al., No. 15-10421, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 23422).



2nd Circuit Panel Remands Denial Of Benefits Case In Light Of Its Halo Ruling
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel in a Dec. 21 summary order reversed in part and remanded for further proceedings a case in which a New York federal judge ruled that a health plan beneficiary failed to prove that a health plan fund was arbitrary and capricious in handling her claims for psychiatric treatment, saying that a subsequent Second Circuit ruling may warrant de novo review of the denial of benefits claim (Wendy A. Tedesco v. IBEW Local 1249 Insurance Fund, et al., No. 16-712, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22866).



Self-Insurance Institute Seeks Supreme Court Review Of 6th Circuit Preemption Ruling
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Self-Insurance Institute of America Inc. (SIIA) on Oct. 31 filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking review of a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling affirming dismissal of claims that a Michigan law is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Self-Insurance Institute of America Inc. v. Rick Snyder, et al., No. 16-593, U.S. Sup.).



Offset Is Based On Amount 'Payable' To Claimant, 1st Circuit Panel Says
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 16 affirmed that a disability administrator is not required to calculate an offset based on the amount of benefits received after taxes are taken from the claimant's Social Security disability payments, noting that the plan specifically states that the offset is based on the amount "payable" to the claimant (Debra Troiano v. Aetna Life Insurance Co. et al., No. 16-1307, 1st Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22404).



Washington Federal Judge: Discretionary Clause Is Not Enforceable In Washington
TACOMA, Wash. - A Washington federal judge on Dec. 22 refused to enforce a disability plan's discretionary clause on the basis that enforcement of the clause would violate a strong public policy in the state of Washington (Anthony Flaaen v. Principal Life Insurance Co. Inc., No. 15-5899, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177638).



Negligence Claim Completely Preempted By ERISA, 6th Circuit Panel Affirms
CINCINNATI - Dismissal of a negligence suit filed against a company hired to review a disability claimant's medical records was proper because the negligence claim is completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Dec. 22 (Samantha Milby v. MCMC LLC, No. 16-5483, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 23112).



Appeals Panel Says Evidence Supports Insurer's Denial Of Disability Benefits
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 23 affirmed a district court's ruling that a disability insurer's denial of benefits was reasonable after determining that the evidence does not support the contention that the claimant was permanently disabled (Fred Arko v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co., No. 14-17287, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 23207).



Plan Administrator Did Not Abuse Discretion In Denying Claim, 9th Circuit Says
SAN FRANCISCO - A plan administrator did not abuse its discretion in denying a claim for disability pension benefits because the denial was reasonable based on the evidence and the terms of the plan, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Dec. 23 (Eun Sug Cha v. 1199SEIU Health Care Employees Pension Fund, No. 15-55435, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 23235).



7th Circuit Panel Finds Benefits Termination Was Not Arbitrary And Capricious
CHICAGO - A disability insurer's termination of benefits was not arbitrary and capricious because the evidence supported the termination and the insurer minimized any conflict of interest by employing a number of safeguards, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Jan. 6 (Donna Geiger v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 16-2790, 7th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 245).



Termination Of Benefits Was Arbitrary And Capricious, 6th Circuit Majority Says
CINCINNATI - The majority of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 15 determined that a disability plan administrator acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it terminated a claimant's benefits because the objective medical evidence did not support the administrator's decision (Jack B. Calhoun Jr. v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 15-3470, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22426).



Claimant's Suit Is Time- Barred Under Disability Policy, Appeals Panel Says
NEW ORLEANS - A disability claimant's suit is time-barred under the terms of the policy at issue because the claimant failed to file the suit within three years of the date when written proof of loss was required under the policy, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Dec. 13 (Woodrow K. Wilson v. Provident Life & Accident Insurance Co., No. 16-30305, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22143).



7th Circuit Panel Reverses Ruling For Insurer, Finding Accident Could Have Killed Man
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 13 reversed an Illinois federal judge's decision in favor of Sun Life and Health Insurance Co., saying that the insurer must pay $92,000 in accidental death benefits to the widow of a man who died after undergoing surgery to repair an Achilles tendon he tore playing basketball because his accident alone could have been the cause of his death (Lee Ann Prather v. Sun Life and Health Insurance Co. (U.S.), No. 16-1861, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22135).



5th Circuit Panel Affirms Unused Vacation Time Does Not Extend Date Insurance Ended
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 19 affirmed a Louisiana federal judge's ruling that a group life insurance plan member's unused accrued vacation time did not extend the date his insurance ended, saying a terminated employee cannot perform his duties on a part-time or full-time basis and cannot return to work even if he has accrued vacation time (Tammy Briscoe, et al. v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 16-30354, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22568).



3rd Circuit Panel Affirms Dismissal Of Suit Alleging Racial Discrimination
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 8 affirmed dismissal of a plaintiff's racial discrimination complaint against his former employer, saying that the former employee never identifies any provision of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act that requires the defendants to provide him with the pension plan information he requested and that his request went "far beyond" ERISA disclosure requirements (Daniel Galman Jr. v. Sysco Food Services of Metro New York LLC, et al., No. 16-1744, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21841).