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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ ERISA Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ ERISA Legal News



Headline ERISA Legal News from LexisNexis®



 



Minnesota Federal Judge Dismisses ERISA, Securities Claims Against Target Corp.
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on July 31 granted Target Corp.'s motion to dismiss an Employee Retirement Income Security Act action and a securities action against it, finding that the ERISA claims failed to plausibly allege that the defendants breached their duty of prudence, duty of loyalty and duty to monitor plan investment committee members and that the plaintiffs failed to show that the defendants' statements were false or misleading when made, as required by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (In re: Target Corp. Securities Litigation, No. 16-1315; In re: Target Corp. ERISA Litigation, No. 16-2400, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120055).



Tribe Wins $8.4 Million Judgment Against Blue Cross For Hidden Plan Fees
BAY CITY, Mich. - A health care plan administrator owes a Michigan Indian tribe more than $8.4 million for violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by charging hidden administrative fees for the tribe's employee benefit program but is not liable for any alleged damages related to the tribe's separate health care plan for all of its members, even though some are also employees, a federal judge held July 14 (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 1:16-cv-10317, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109366).



Labor Department Seeks Stay Of Thrivent Litigation Over BIC Exemption
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in a July 14 letter asked a Minnesota federal judge to stay litigation over its new "best interest contract" prohibited exemption (BIC exemption), saying that it is currently reviewing its rulemaking pursuant to President Donald J. Trump's directive (Thrivent Financial for Lutherans v. R. Alexander Acosta, et al., No. 0:16-cv-03289, D. Minn.).



8th Circuit Panel Says ERISA Plan Can Bring Claim Against Blanket Insurer
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 3 ruled that an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan can bring a declaratory judgment claim to enforce the plan's coordination of benefits provision against a blanket insurer in a dispute over whether the plan or the insurer had to provide primary coverage for medical expenses incurred by an injured student athlete (Dakotas and Western Minnesota Electrical Industry Health and Welfare Fund v. First Agency, Inc., et al., Nos. 16-1846, 16-3319, 16-3375, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14233).



9th Circuit Panel Says Summary Plan Description Covers Reimbursement Provisions
PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 1 vacated a California federal judge's grant of summary judgment in favor of health plan participants, saying the judge erred in enjoining the plan and its board of directors from enforcing summary plan description provisions regarding reimbursement of benefits previously paid upon a plan participant's receipt of a third-party recovery (Danielle Mull, et al. v. Motion Picture Industry Health Plan, et al., No. 15-56246, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13949).



En Banc 5th Circuit Will Consider Standard Of Review For ERISA Benefits Denial
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 10 agreed to rehear en banc a case involving the proper standard of judicial review of a denial of benefits under a health plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Ariana M. v. Humana Health Plan of Texas Inc., No. 16-20174, 5th Cir.).



Judge Dismisses Tribe's ERISA Claims Against Blue Cross Blue Shield
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - A Native American tribe cannot pursue claims that its health care plan administrator violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by failing to charge the tribe Medicare-like rates for contracted services at a hospital because the tribe waited too long to sue, a Michigan federal judge held July 21 (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan v. Munson Medical Center, No. 5:14-cv-11349, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113759).



Judge: Insurer's Denial Of Coverage For Wilderness Programs Permissible
MIAMI - An insurer's exclusion of wilderness treatment programs is not a blanket bar, but is based on the frequent failure of those facilities to meet certain general coverage criteria, and thus does not violate federal law by treating mental health coverage differently from more general treatments, a federal judge in Florida held July 20 in dismissing ERISA claims (Steven Welp, et al. v. Cigna Health and Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-80237, S.D. Fla.).



6th Circuit Affirms $314,000 Grant Of Additional Benefits In Life Insurance Case
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 18 affirmed a Michigan federal judge's ruling granting $314,000 in additional life insurance benefits in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act breach of fiduciary duty case alleging that a fiduciary made material representations regarding a woman's coverage level, saying that the defendant failed to rebut the plaintiff's claims (Donald Van Loo, et al. v. Cajun Operating Company, No. 16-1980, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13081).



4th Circuit Panel Affirms Policy's Suicide Exclusion Is Valid And Enforceable
NORFOLK, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 6 affirmed denial of a Navy widow's claim for supplemental life insurance benefits, saying an Arkansas federal judge did not commit reversible error because the life insurer's plan interpretation was reasonable and the plan contained a valid suicide exclusion (Jennifer Mullen Collins v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 16-1636, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12060).



Split 6th Circuit Panel Affirms Denial Of Man's ERISA Benefit Claims
CINCINNATI - A split Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 19 affirmed a Michigan federal judge's ruling that a retirement board did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in denying a man's Employee Retirement Income Security Act benefit claims, agreeing that the man's initial 16.2 years of Dow Chemical Co. service should not be used to calculate his pension benefits (Robert Johnston v. Dow Employees' Pension Plan, et al., No. 16-2246, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13196).



Federal Judge Grants PricewaterhouseCoopers Judgment On Plaintiffs' Whipsaw Claims
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on July 24 granted PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP's (PwC) motion for judgment on the pleadings in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action, saying that the plaintiffs failed to establish that they are entitled to relief under ERISA for their whipsaw claims (Timothy Laurent, et al. v. Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP, et al., No. 06-cv-2280, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115067).



9th Circuit Panel Remands ERISA Class Action Over Hourly Contributions
SEATTLE - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 14 affirmed in part and reversed in part a Washington federal judge's judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action, saying that an issue regarding hourly contributions to a pension plan had not been fully litigated (Richard Lehman, et al., v. Warner Nelson, et al., Nos. 15-35414, 15-35457, 15-35696, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12619).



DOL Files Amicus Brief Supporting Plaintiff Seeking Reformation Of Plan Document
CINCINNATI - The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on July 28 filed an amicus curiae brief in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in support of a plaintiff seeking reformation of a plan document, saying that a Michigan federal judge erred when he granted the plan summary judgment on the reformation claim because the plaintiff failed to establish that the plan had an intent to deceive (Randy D. Pearce v. Chrysler Group LLC Pension Plan, No. 17-1431, 6th Cir.).



Unopposed Motion Filed Seeking $42.5M Settlement Of Church Plan Lawsuit
NEWARK, N.J. - The plaintiffs in a consolidated Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action against a health care provider on Aug. 3 filed an unopposed motion for preliminary approval of a $42.5 million class action settlement agreement with the provider (Donna Garbaccio, et al. v. St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center and Subsidiaries, et al., No. 2:16-cv-02740, D. N.J.).



Puerto Rico Federal Judge: Parties Haven't Proven If Plan Is Exempt Church Plan
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A Puerto Rico federal judge on July 19 denied a motion to dismiss a putative Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action alleging that the defendants have mismanaged an employee pension plan, saying that the parties at this point have failed to prove whether the plan is a church plan exempt from ERISA's requirements (Norma I. Cardoza-Estremera, et al. v. Colegio Padre Berrios, et al., No. 16-2318, D. Puerto Rico, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114435).



2nd Circuit Panel Affirms ERISA Claims Dismissal, OKs Securities Claim Amendment
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 13 affirmed the dismissal of retired Booz Allen Hamilton officers' Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims because the plan through which Booz Allen distributed its stock to employees was not an employee pension benefit plan within the meaning of ERISA but vacated the judgment to the extent that it denied the motion by one plaintiff for leave to amend to add securities fraud claims (Bruce Pasternack, et al. v. Ralph W. Shrader, et al., No. 16-217, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12513).



11th Circuit Affirms Finding That Insurer's Termination Of Benefits Was Reasonable
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 12 affirmed a district court's ruling that a disability insurer's termination of long-term care disability benefits was reasonable based on the evidence properly considered by the insurer (David Carr v. John Hancock Life Insurance Company USA, No. 16-17134, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12404).



LTD Plan Is Ambiguous As To Whether Insurer's Offset Was Permitted, Panel Says
NEW ORLEANS - A district court did not err in finding that a disability insurer abused its discretion in offsetting a claimant's long-term disability benefits because the plan is ambiguous as to whether a direct rollover of pension funds to an individual retirement account entitles the insurer to offset the claimant's disability benefits, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said July 18 (Joel Thomason v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 16- 10634, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12932).



Attorney Fees Awarded To Disability Claimant, But No Contingency Enhancement
DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on Aug. 1 granted a disability claimant's motion for attorney fees because the claimant achieved a modest level of success on the merits, but the judge refused to apply a contingency enhancement, as requested by the claimant's attorney, after determining that a contingency enhancement is not appropriate when using the lodestar model to calculate the appropriate amount of attorney fees (Kyle D. Kennard v. Means Industries Inc., No. 11-15079, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120457).



Missouri Federal Judge Grants Limited Discovery In Disability Benefits Suit
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on July 11 partially granted a disability claimant's motion for additional discovery, but only as it pertained to a plan administrator's claims-handling guidelines, an administrative services agreement and a limited number of documents from a third-party vendor responsible for conducting independent medical reviews on behalf of the plan administrator (Teresa Heartsill v. Ascension Health Alliance, et al., No. 17-155, E.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106749).



Interpretation Of Plan's Terms Was Reasonable Based On Extrinsic Evidence
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 28 affirmed a district court's ruling that a pension plan had the discretion to decide which level of disability retirement benefits should be paid to a plan participant and that the interpretation of the plan's terms by the plan's board of trustees was reasonable based on the extrinsic evidence (Harold Davis v. Pension Trust Fund for Operating Engineers, et al., No. 15-17212, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13727).



8th Circuit Panel Affirms Denial Of Spousal Benefits, Accidental Death Claims
ST. LOUIS - In an opinion filed July 24, an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled that an Arkansas federal judge did not err in upholding an insurer's denial of a woman's claims for accidental death and spousal benefits, saying that because her husband was not on a business trip at the time of his fatal accident, the insurer's interpretation of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act-governed policy was consistent with the policy's goals of excluding accidents that occurred while the insured was working at his regular place of employment (Michele Donaldson v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 16-2229, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13258).



1st Circuit Panel Allows Alter-Ego Claims Against Transport Firm To Proceed
BOSTON - A First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 2 said an Employee Income Retirement Security Act case against a transportation company that is an alleged alter ego of a defunct transportation company that owes withdrawal liability can proceed, saying it is well established in First Circuit law that the alter-ego doctrine applies to ERISA claims (Edward F. Groden v. N&D Transportation Co., et al., No. 15-2553, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14184).



Loffredo Petitioners Bolster Case For High Court Review Of Age Discrimination Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a June 15 reply brief in support of their petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, former Chrysler Corp. executives who lost benefits under the company's retirement plan say the respondents make several errors in their arguments in opposition, including that the petitioners failed to exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit (John Loffredo, et al. v. Daimler AG, et al., No. 16-1334, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 2155).



2nd Circuit Panel Affirms Foot Locker Pension Plan Must Be Reformed
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 6 affirmed a New York federal judge's ruling in favor of a class of about 16,000 former and current employees of Foot Locker Inc. seeking additional pension benefits, holding that classwide relief in the form of reformation does not require a showing of individualized detrimental reliance (Geoffrey Osberg, et al. v. Foot Locker Inc., et al., No. 15-3602, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12041).



Massachusetts Federal Judge Dismisses Remaining Claims In ERISA Class Action
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on June 19 dismissed the remaining claims in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action, saying that the plaintiffs have failed to show that the defendants breached their duties of loyalty and prudence and failed to make a prima facie showing of loss (John Brotherston, et al. v. Putnam Investments LLC, et al., No. 1:15-cv-13825, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93654).



Massachusetts Federal Judge Grants Summary Judgment To Fidelity Management Trust
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on June 19 granted Fidelity Management Trust Co.'s motion for summary judgment in a class action alleging that Fidelity breached its fiduciary duties pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by mismanaging the Fidelity Group Employee Benefit Plan Managed Income Portfolio Comingled Pool (MIP), saying the plaintiffs did not carry their burden to establish a fiduciary breach (John Ellis, et al. v. Fidelity Management Trust Co., No 1:15-14128, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93656).



2nd Circuit Panel Denies Appeal Of Ruling Certifying J.P. Morgan ERISA Class
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 27 denied a petition to appeal a New York federal judge's order certifying a class of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPMC) employees who invested in any of its stable value funds during 2009 and 2010, saying "an immediate appeal is unwarranted" (In re J.P. Morgan Stable Value Fund ERISA Litigation, No. 17-1091, 2nd Cir.).



New York Federal Judge Dismisses ERISA Lawsuit Over Excessive Advice Fees
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on June 21 dismissed an Employee Retirement Income Security Act putative class action that alleged that a record keeper's advice arrangement constituted a breach of fiduciary duty resulting in excessive fees, saying that the plaintiff failed to allege facts showing that the defendants were ERISA fiduciaries with respect to their fees (Lisa Patrico v. Voya Financial Inc., et al., No. 16-cv-7070, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95735).



ERISA Class Action Targets 'Excessive' Asset-Based Fees Charged To Plan
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Employee Retirement Income Security Act putative class action was filed June 27 in Ohio federal court alleging that participants and beneficiaries of the Andrus Wagstaff PC 401(k) Profit Sharing Plan (AW plan) were charged excessive fees for record keeping and administrative services (Alana Schmitt, et al. v. Nationwide Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 2:17-cv-00558, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Div.).



DOL Defends Fiduciary Rule In Appellee Brief Filed In 5th Circuit
NEW ORLEANS - The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on July 3 filed a lengthy appellee brief in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a consolidated lawsuit filed by investment and insurance industry trade groups against its fiduciary rule (Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. United States Department of Labor, et al., No. 17-10238, 5th Cir.).



Thrivent Financial Letter Invokes DOL Brief To Seek Summary Judgment
ST. PAUL, Minn. - In a three-page letter, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans on July 5 asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota to grant it summary judgment and a permanent injunction in its case against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) after the DOL in a July 3 brief in another case said it would no longer defend the part of its fiduciary rule that bans class action waivers (Thrivent Financial for Lutherans v. Acosta, et al., No. 0:16-cv-03289, D. Minn.).



Supreme Court Rejects Bid For Review Of Ponzi Scheme Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 19 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari to review a judgment of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a pension fund had no standing to assert breach of fiduciary duty claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act against its investment adviser for continuing to recommend investment in a Ponzi scheme when the adviser had privately expressed significant doubts about the continued prudence of that investment vehicle (Trustees of the Upstate New York Engineers Pension Fund v. Ivy Asset Management, et al., No. 16-1377, U.S. Sup.).



4th Circuit Panel Affirms Judgment For Michelin Plan On Injection Payment Rulings
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 13 affirmed the grant of summary judgment to defendants in a case where a plaintiff sued under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act seeking additional reimbursement for a series of steroid knee injections that an orthopedic surgeon administered to his spouse, finding no abuse of discretion in the defendants' decision to not provide additional insurance coverage and no error in the trial court's refusal to consider information that the plaintiff failed to provide during the administrative appeals process (Monte Hooper, et al. v. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-2157, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10482).



Judge Certifies Class In Mental Health Insurance Coverage Denial Case
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on June 15 granted class certification to a group of plaintiffs seeking reprocessing of mental health insurance claims after their insurer allegedly imposed overly strict definitions of medically necessary care in contravention of the plans' terms (Charles Des Roches, et al. v. California Physicians' Service, et al., No. 16-2848, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92573).



Oklahoma Top Court: No Preemption Where ERISA Plan Is 'Factual Backdrop'
OKLAHOMA CITY - On remand, a trial court must consider whether a woman's class action claiming that a hospital improperly sought collection from her in violation of its contract with her insurer invokes an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan or whether the plan is merely part of the "factual backdrop" of the case, a divided Oklahoma Supreme Court held June 21 (Elizabeth Cates v. INTEGRIS Health Inc., No. 114314, Okla. Sup., 2017 Okla. LEXIS 53).



Federal Judge Grants Injunction For Retirees In Medical Coverage Dispute
HARTFORD, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on June 27 granted retired union employees' motion for a preliminary injunction and ordered Honeywell International Inc. to reinstate previously existing medical coverage benefits, saying that the threat of termination and the actual termination of medical coverage benefits constitute irreparable harm (David Kelly, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. 3:16-cv-00543, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99419).



3rd Circuit Panel Affirms Company Didn't Intend For Health Benefits To Vest
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 15 affirmed summary judgment for Johnson Controls Inc. in an Employee Income Retirement Act lawsuit, saying that language in collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) and insurance booklets indicates that the company never intended for retirees' health insurance benefits to vest (William Grove Sr., et al. v. Johnson Controls Inc., et al., No. 16-2178, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10615).



New York Law Bars Offset For Personal Injury Settlement, Appeals Panel Concludes
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 22 reversed a district court's ruling that a disability insurer was entitled to offset a claimant's benefits based on the claimant's settlement of his personal injury claim after determining that New York law bars the disability insurer from offsetting benefits when a claim for personal injuries is settled (Salvatore Arnone v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 15-2322, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11055).



4th Circuit Panel Says Plan Defendants Are Required To Adopt SSA's Onset Date
RICHMOND, Va. - Because a plan administrator failed to follow a reasoned process in determining a disability claimant's onset date of disability, the plan must adopt the disability onset date determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal said June 23 in affirming a district court's decision (Jesse Solomon v. Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan, et al., No. 16-1730, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11197).



D.C. Appellate Panel: ERISA Plan Administrator Wrongfully Denied Woman Benefits
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia appeals panel on June 30 said a federal judge correctly ruled that a woman was totally disabled under the terms of her Employee Retirement Income Security Act-governed long-term disability plan and that the plan administrator has not satisfactorily supported its conclusion that she was ever capable of full-time work after November 2007 (Jill Marcin v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-78125, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11670).



Evidence Supports Termination Of Disability Benefits Based On Substance Abuse Provision
CINCINNATI - A disability plan administrator did not act arbitrarily and capriciously when it terminated a claimant's benefits based on the plan's substance abuse provision because the evidence supports the administrator's finding that the claimant's disability was caused by the effects of opioid medications, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 30 (Angela Blount v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Company, No. 16-6372, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11779).



Substantial Evidence Supports Termination Of Disability Benefits, Appeals Panel Says
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 14 affirmed a district court's ruling that a disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in terminating a claimant's long-term disability benefits because there is substantial evidence supporting the insurer's termination of benefits (Lashondra Davis v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 16-10895, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10576).



Disability Insurer's Denial Of Benefits Supported By Medical Records, Panel Says
ST. LOUIS - A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in denying a claim for disability benefits because the medical records and evidence support the insurer's denial, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said July 5 (Michelle E. Cooper v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, No. 16-3429, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11933).



Termination Of Disability Benefits Was Reasonable, 9th Circuit Panel Affirms
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 12 affirmed a district court's ruling that the termination of a disability claim was reasonable based on the plan's mental health coverage limitation and the medical evidence considered by the disability insurer (Kathee A. Colman v. American International Group Inc. Group Benefit Plan, et al., No. 15-15903, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10394).



3rd Circuit Panel Affirms Denial Of Severance Claims As Not Arbitrary, Capricious
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 21 affirmed summary judgment in a case in which refinery workers were denied severance benefits, saying that a Pennsylvania federal judge correctly ruled that a plan administrator's denial of benefits was neither arbitrary nor capricious and was warranted under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Paul Felker, et al. v. USW Local 10-901, et al., No. 16-3064, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10982).



5th Circuit Panel Affirms Dismissal Of Widow's Claims Over Life Insurance Policy
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 21 affirmed the dismissal of Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims arising out of a life insurance policy originally issued to a woman's husband, saying that an insurer's determination that the widow was not entitled to his life insurance benefits was neither arbitrary nor capricious (Kimberly D. Hendrix v. Prudential Insurance Co. of America, et al., No. 16-20750, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11008).



11th Circuit Panel Says Death Benefits Award To Widow, Conservator Proper
ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 6 ruled that a Georgia federal judge properly granted death benefits to a widow and her conservator, saying that the decedent's son failed to show any reversible error in that decision (Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. v. Devin Lanier Waddell, et al., No. 16-15321, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12027).



High Court: Church-Affiliated Hospitals Fall Under ERISA's Church-Plan Exemption
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 5 in three "church plan" class action lawsuits that pension plans for religious nonprofits, regardless of who established them, are exempt from the minimum funding and reporting and disclosure requirements of 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.).



DOL Fiduciary Duty Rule Set To Take Effect On June 9
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) new fiduciary duty rule regarding investment advice will take effect June 9, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said in a May 23 op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal.



Groups File Amicus Briefs In 5th Circuit Challenging DOL's New Fiduciary Rule
NEW ORLEANS - The Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans on May 9 filed separate amicus curiae briefs in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business group's efforts to reverse a Texas federal judge's ruling that the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) new fiduciary duty rule does not exceed the DOL's authority, saying the new rule is deeply flawed (Chamber of Commerce of the USA, et al. v. United States Department of Labor, et al., No. 17-10238, 5th Cir.).



4th Circuit Will Not Rehear Tatum 401(k) Fiduciary Duty Ruling
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 26 denied a petition for rehearing en banc in a case in which a split panel on April 28 affirmed that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR) is not liable for losses suffered by its 401(k) retirement employee benefit plan after its 1999 decision to divest Nabisco stock from the plan because a prudent fiduciary would have made the same divestment decision at the same time and in the same manner (Richard G. Tatum, et al. v. RJR Pension Investment Committee, et al., No. 16-1293, 4th Cir.).



Wells Fargo & Co. 401(k) Class Action Over Proprietary Target Date Funds Tossed
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minneapolis federal judge on May 25 granted a motion to dismiss a putative class action lawsuit filed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act against the sponsor and fiduciaries of the Wells Fargo and Co. 401(k) Plan, saying allegations that they violated their duties of loyalty and prudence in investing plan assets by selecting as investments proprietary Wells Fargo target date funds (TDFs) fail because there is not a meaningful comparison with the market as a whole (John Meiners, et al. v. Wells Fargo & Co., et al., No. 16-3981, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80606).



10th Circuit: Loss Alleged By ESOP From Failed Stock Transaction Was Speculative
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 5 affirmed a district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of a financial company in an action for breach of fiduciary duty brought by an employee stock ownership plan and trust alleging that the financial company's failure to prepare certain financial documents prevented the transfer of ownership of a holding company to the trust. The Circuit Court agreed with the lower court that there was insufficient evidence that a breach, if it occurred, prevented the transaction (Pioneer Centres Holding Co. ESOP & Trust v. Alerus Fin., N.A., No. 15-1227, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9940).



2 ERISA Class Actions Filed Against Universities Survive Dismissal Motions
Two putative class action lawsuits accusing universities of mismanaging their employee retirement plans by charging excessive fees, using multiple record keepers to operate their plans and handle administrative services and offering too many high-cost and poorly performing investment options survived motions to dismiss in May (David Clark, et al. v. Duke University, et al., No. 1:16-cv-01044, M.D. N.C.; Geneva Henderson, et al. v. Emory University, et al., No. 1:16-cv-2920, N.D. Ga.).



3 More Class Actions Filed Under ERISA Against University Retirement Plans
Three class actions alleging breach of fiduciary duty were filed recently against university retirement plans that claim that the plan administrators caused plan participants and beneficiaries to pay excessive and unreasonable fees (Winifred J. Daugherty, et al. v. The University of Chicago, No. 1:17-cv-03736, N.D. Ill.; Latasha Davis, et al. v. Washington University in St. Louis, No. 4:17-cv-01641, E.D. Mo.; Elysee Nicolas, et al. v. The Trustees of Princeton University, No. 2:17-cv-3695, D. N.J.).



California Federal Judge Again Tosses ERISA Class Action Against Chevron Corp.
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on May 31 granted Chevron Corp.'s motion to dismiss an amended Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action against it alleging breach of fiduciary duty, saying that the plaintiffs failed to allege facts sufficient to raise a plausible inference that the defendants took any actions for the purpose of benefitting themselves at the expense of retirement plan participants or that they acted under any actual or perceived conflict of interest (Charles E. White, et al. v. Chevron Corp., et al., No. 16-cv-0793, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 893474).



Merrill Lynch To Settle 401(k) Class Action Lawsuit For $25 Million
MIAMI - Plaintiffs in a class action against Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. on June 8 filed an unopposed motion for preliminary approval of a $25 million settlement of a 401(k) lawsuit alleging that Merrill Lynch breached its fiduciary duties by failing to ensure that small retirement plan clients received mutual fund sales discounts (Benjamin Fernandez, et al. v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., No. 1:15-cv-22782, S.D. Fla.).



Iowa Federal Judge Certifies ERISA Class Action Targeting Principal Life Insurance
DAVENPORT, Iowa - An Iowa federal judge on May 12 certified a class action Employee Retirement Income Security Act lawsuit alleging that Principal Life Insurance Co. breached its fiduciary duty of loyalty to retirement plan participants by retaining compensation that it was not entitled to as a fiduciary (Frederick Rozo, et al. v. Principal Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 4:14-cv-463, S.D. Iowa).



Minnesota Federal Judge: Wells Fargo Can't Apply Verdict To Nonjury Claims
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on June 8 denied Wells Fargo Bank's motion to reconsider his March order that a 2013 verdict did not have a preclusive effect on nonjury claims brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because its counsel failed to timely raise the issue (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 11-2529, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89240).



4th Circuit Panel Reverses ERISA Claim Dismissal, Says Factual Development Needed
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 11 reversed and remanded a Virginia federal judge's ruling that a benefits director's Employee Retirement Income Security Act claim failed to allege that he testified or gave information in any "inquiry or proceeding," saying that the prudent course of action is to allow for greater factual development before delving into critical questions of statutory interpretation (Roberto Trujillo v. Landmark Media Enterprises, LLC, et al., No. 16-1264, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8361).



3rd Circuit Panel Affirms Dismissal Of Dentist's ERISA, ADEA, PHRA Claims
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 19 affirmed dismissal of a 61-year-old dentist's claims of age discrimination and violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, saying that she presented no direct evidence of age discrimination or intentional interference with her entitlement to ERISA-protected benefits (Mikele L. Boyle, D.M.D. v. Penn Dental Medicine, et al., No. 160-3621, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8799).



2nd Circuit Panel: Doctor's Suit Against Insurer Not Completely Preempted By ERISA
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 18 held that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not completely preempt an "out-of-network" health care provider's promissory estoppel claim against a health insurer where the provider did not receive a valid assignment for payment under the health care plan and received an independent promise from the insurer that he would be paid for certain medical services provided to the insured, saying that any legal duty the insurer has to reimburse the provider is independent and distinct from its obligations under the patient's plan (McCulloch Orthopaedic Surgical Services PLLC a/k/a Dr. Kenneth E. McCulloch v. Aetna Inc., et al., No. 15-2150, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8694).



Insurance Contract's Anti-Assignment Provision Bars ERISA Claim, Judge Says
TRENTON, N.J. - A health care contract's anti-assignment provision precludes a provider from bringing an action under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and the insurer's interactions with the provider during the claims review process do not waive that defense, a federal judge in New Jersey held May 12 (IGEA Brain and Spine, P.A. on assignment of Marcos V v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, No. 16-844, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72663).



Judge Certifies Class Seeking Reprocessing Of Depression Treatment Denials
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A federal judge on May 4 certified a class action brought by individuals seeking magnetic stimulation therapy as a treatment for depression, saying that the proposed class is satisfactory and that an injunction requiring the insurer to reprocess the claims would constitute monetary relief (Christopher Meidl v. Aetna Inc., et al., No. 15-1319, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70223).



Judge: Potentially Duplicative Claims OK While Court Sorts Out ERISA Case
MILWAUKEE - Plaintiffs alleging that they were undercompensated by their health plan's systemic miscalculation of reasonable out-of-network charges may bring potentially duplicative claims while the court works out the injuries and appropriate remedies, a federal judge in Wisconsin held May 22 (Brenten George and Denise Valente-McGee v. CNH Health & Welfare Benefit Plan, et al., No. 16-1678, E.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77437).



Class Action Over Cost Of EpiPens Filed In Minnesota Federal Court
MINNEAPOLIS - A putative class action brought pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act alleging that pharmacy benefits managers' violation of their fiduciary duty caused the price of a drug used to treat severe, life-threatening allergic reaction to skyrocket was filed June 2 in Minnesota federal court (Elan and Adam Klein, et al. v. Prime Therapeutics LLC, et al., No. 0:17-cv-01884, D. Minn.).



Judge Declines To Strike Expert's Interest Analysis For Tribe's ERISA Claims
BAY CITY, Mich. - If an Indian tribe prevails on its claim that its health care plan administrator violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by charging hidden fees and pursues prejudgment interest, its expert on calculating the interest amount can offer his analysis at trial, a Michigan federal judge ruled May 16, while also blocking the tribe's request for discovery in the interest rate dispute (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 1:16-cv-10317, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56562).



5th Circuit Panel: Beneficiary Must Reimburse Plan After Third-Party Recovery
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 30 affirmed that a beneficiary of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan was required to reimburse the plan for payments it made for her medical expenses in the event she received a third-party recovery, saying the summary plan description (SPD) contains a valid reimbursement provision (Donna Rhea v. Alan Ritchey Inc. Welfare Benefit Plan, et al., No. 16-41032, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9482).



4th Circuit Affirms CBA Wording Kills Retirees' Claim That Benefits Had Vested
RICHMOND, Va. - After a rehearing, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 11 affirmed that a federal judge correctly ruled that health benefits for United Steel Workers retirees of a West Virginia aluminum manufacturer did not vest and were properly altered unilaterally by the company because union contracts expressly provided that the benefits remained in effect only for the term of the contracts, which had expired (Ronald Barton, et al v. Constellium Rolled Products-Ravenswood, LLC, et al., No. 16-1103, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8357).



Judge Grants Motion To Reconsider Ruling For Honeywell In Medical Coverage Dispute
HARTFORD, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on May 25 granted a motion to reconsider her previous grant of summary judgment in favor of Honeywell International Inc. 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, saying that there exists a triable issue of material fact for a jury to consider (David Kelly, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. 3:16-cv-00543, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80185).



7th Circuit Majority Says Reinstatement Of Disability Benefits Was Reasonable
CHICAGO - The majority of a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 18 affirmed a district court's judgment of more than $580,000 in past disability benefits in favor of a disability claimant after determining that the plan did not specify any type of job the claimant is capable of performing (Cathleen Kennedy v. The Lilly Extended Disability Plan, No. 16-2314, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8738).



Texas Federal Judge Says Denial Of Disability Claim Is Supported By Evidence
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on May 9 determined that a disability insurer did not wrongfully deny a claim for breast augmentation surgery under a short-term disability (STD) plan because the evidence supports the insurer's conclusion that the surgery was cosmetic and not necessary to treat the illness of gender dysphoria (Charlize Marie Baker v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-3679, N.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70595).



Disability Claimant's Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claim Can Stand, 8th Circuit Panel Says
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal on May 8 remanded a disability claimant's suit after determining that the District Court erred in dismissing the claimant's breach of fiduciary claim because the breach of fiduciary duty claim is based on a different theory of liability than the claimant's denial-of-benefits claim (Lisa Jones v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-1714, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8112).



Disability Plan Is Exempt From ERISA, Louisiana Federal Judge Determines
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on May 31 denied a disability insurer's motion for partial summary judgment on a claimant's state law claims after determining that the disability plan at issue is exempt from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the hospital that administered the plan qualifies as a political subdivision of the state of Louisiana (Brenda Andrus v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 16-1112, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82833).



Disability Insurer's Offset Of Benefits Was Reasonable, 3rd Circuit Panel Determines
PHILADELPHIA - A disability insurer was entitled to offset a disability claimant's long-term disability benefits against income the claimant earned by working part time for her medical practice because the claimant still received the benefit of her earnings even though the earnings were applied against debt she owed her medical practice, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 7 (Amy Patrick, M.D. v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 16-3980, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10105).



Denial Of Disability Claim Was Not Arbitrary And Capricious, Panel Says
DENVER - A district court did not err in finding that a claims administrator's termination of long-term disability (LTD) benefits was not arbitrary and capricious because substantial evidence exists to support the termination of benefits, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said May 9 (Tracy Blair, et al. v. Alcaltel-Lucent Long Term Disability Plan, No. 16-7062, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8198).



Disability Claimant Provided Administrator With Objective Medical Findings, Panel Says
CINCINNATI - A district court erred in determining that a disability plan administrator's denial of disability benefits was not arbitrary and capricious, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 8 after determining that the disability claimant provided the administrator with objective findings that support a disability (Bruce Corey v. Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., et al., No. 16-3817, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10179).



Disability Claimant's Injury Was Related To Intoxication, 11th Circuit Panel Concludes
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 2 reversed a District Court's ruling that a disability insurer's denial of benefits based on the plan's intoxication exclusion was de novo wrong after determining that that the evidence clearly shows that the claimant's injury was related to intoxication (Steven D. Prelutsky v. Greater Georgia Life Insurance Co., No. 16-15900, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9759).



9th Circuit Affirms Ruling That Disability Claimant Waived Right To Contest Denial
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 22 affirmed a district court's finding that a disability claimant waived his rights to contest the termination of his disability benefits because the claimant signed a waiver of all rights, including his rights to contest the termination of his disability claim, as part of a settlement with his former employer for wrongful termination claims (Thomas A. Gonda v. The Permanente Medical Group Inc., et al., No. 15-16484, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8888).



9th Circuit Panel Says Wrong Standard Of Review Applied In Disability Suit
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 11 reversed a district court's ruling in favor of a disability insurer after determining that the district court applied the wrong standard of review pursuant to California law (Talana Orzechowski v. The Boeing Company Non-Union Long-Term Disability Plan, et al., No. 14-55919, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8348).



High Court Denies Disability Plan Administrators' Petition For Writ Of Certiorari
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on May 22 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by disability plan administrators claiming that a district court and the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals failed to follow prior decisions issued by the U.S. Supreme Court in disability insurance cases when determining that a claimant's benefits claim was "deemed denied" (Sun Life and Health Insurance Co., et al. v. Janet Solnin, No. 16-1238, U.S. Sup.).



11th Circuit Panel: ERISA Doesn't Let Paper Company Sue Pension Fund Over Changes
ATLANTA - In a case of first impression, a three-judge 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 16 that a corrugated packaging and paper company could not sue a multiemployer pension plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the statute does not allow employers to sue over certain pension fund changes (WestRock RKT Co. v. Pace Industry Union-Management Pension Fund, et al., No. 16-16443, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8569).



3rd Circuit Panel Holds Parties Required To Arbitrate Withdrawal Liability Row
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 31 affirmed that a pension trust's claims for withdrawal liability fall within Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 (MPPAA) provisions that were explicitly designated for arbitration (Steelworkers Pension Trust v. The Renco Group Inc., et al., No. 16-3751, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9524).



6th Circuit Panel: Ford Retirement Plan Election Window Not Capricious
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 19 affirmed a Michigan federal judge's dismissal of denial of benefits and breach of fiduciary duty claims against Ford Motor Co. and its retirement plan, saying it was not arbitrary and capricious for Ford to set a period to elect lump-sum distribution of retirement benefits that paid a widow $463,254.78 less in survivor benefits (Jennifer Strang v. Ford Motor Company General Retirement Plan, et al., No. 16-2090, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8849).



5th Circuit Reverses Ruling In Plan Administrator's Favor In Severance Benefits Dispute
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 1 reversed a lower federal court's ruling that ordered a claimant to take nothing from a Separation Benefits Plan, rendering a $255,000 judgment in favor of the claimant after finding that the administrator's reading of the plan was an abuse of discretion (William Langley v. Howard Hughes Management Co., No. 16-20724 c/w No. 17-20217, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. Lexis 9724).



Respondents: High Court Should Deny Certiorari In Age Discrimination Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a June 5 brief, respondents contend that the U.S. Supreme Court should deny a petition for writ of certiorari asking the high court to determine whether a state law age discrimination claim relating to employee benefits that is untimely under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, saying a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision is entirely consistent with Supreme Court precedent and all other lower court decisions on ERISA preemption and presents no important issue of federal law (John Loffredo, et al. v. Daimler AG, et al., No. 16-1334, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 1990).



Disability Claimant Says 6th Circuit's Preemption Decision Must Be Reviewed
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals incorrectly determined that a negligence claim is completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the Sixth Circuit's reasoning conflicts with the U.S. Supreme Court's analysis for complete preemption, a disability claimant says in a May 22 petition for writ of certiorari filed in the high court (Samantha Milby v. MCMC LLC, No. 16-1409, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 1860).



11th Circuit: Trial Court Must Determine If Insured Reasonably Relied On Typo
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 25 vacated a district court's order granting summary judgment in favor of Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston in an action brought by Melinda Webb under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act seeking the payment of life insurance benefits under a policy held by her deceased husband, ruling that the district court needed to make certain factual determinations (Webb v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 16-14565, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9155).



Beneficiary's Claim Is Barred By 6-Year Statute Of Limitations, Panel Affirms
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal on May 24 affirmed that a beneficiary's claim for increased disability pension benefits is barred by New York's six-year statute of limitations because the beneficiary knew in 2004 that she was not receiving the increased benefits (Julienne Moses, as beneficiary of Paul Moses [deceased] v. Revlon Inc. et al., No. 16-2960, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9005).



Arizona Federal Judge Awards $25,000 In Fees, Costs To Plan In Case Lacking Merit
PHOENIX - Applying the five-factor test set forth in Hummell v. S.E. Rykoff & Co., an Arizona federal judge on May 8 awarded $25,000 and interest for attorney fees and costs to a defined benefit retirement plan, less than 95 percent of what the plan was seeking, saying the plaintiff's claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act lacked merit (Maureen Terri Angichiodo v. Honeywell Pension and Savings Plan, et al., No. 15-00097, D. Ariz., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69793).



6th Circuit Panel Remands Arbitration Award In ERISA Case For Clarification
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 30 affirmed an Ohio federal judge's order remanding an arbitration award for clarification in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act action brought by a union seeking the establishment of a welfare and pension trust fund for its members from their employer because the wording of the award is unclear (Local 1982, International Longshoremen's Association v. Midwest Terminals of Toledo International Inc., No. 16-4004, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9848).