Plaintiffs Won the Balance of ERISA Class Certification Motions in 2017

The number of Employee Retirement Income Security Act lawsuits winning class certification in 2017 far outstripped the number of suits within which class action status was denied; attorneys with Seyfarth Shaw offer detailed analysis of all the ongoing cases.

As laid out in a very expansive class action litigation analysis published by Seyfarth Shaw, plaintiffs found some significant success in 2017 when it came to winning class certification in Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) lawsuits.

Looking across all 12 U.S. federal appellate court circuits, in total 17 groups of plaintiffs earned class action certification in an ERISA challenge during 2017, whereas just five groups of plaintiffs formally saw their appeals for class certification denied. Obviously, class certification is still an early procedural step in any litigation, but the overwhelming success of ERISA plaintiffs’ attorneys in earning class certification across a wide variety of cases is an important trend and may speak to the validity of at least some of their broad claims, attorneys warn.

Of the 17 classes certified, six are involved in cases in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, while another five are arguing claims in the Ninth Circuit. The Seyfarth Shaw analysis goes into some depth and breaks down exactly what cases are pending in which jurisdictions, offering quite a helpful overview for readers trying to get a grasp on the vast landscape of unfolding ERISA class action litigation.  

As Seyfarth Shaw attorneys explain, throughout 2017, federal courts issued a wide variety of rulings on procedural and substantive matters in ERISA class action litigation. These rulings touched on “administration fee issues in ERISA class actions; attorneys’ fees and costs; breach of fiduciary duty; damages issues; discovery issues; DOL and PBGC enforcement litigation; stock drop class actions; ESOP issues; independent contractor issues in ERISA class actions; preemption, procedural and coverage issues; and tolling, statute of limitations and exhaustion requirements in ERISA class actions.”

All of these subjects are explored in detail in the report, including case-by-case analysis of a variety of relevant issues. The publication also offers detail on many other types of class action lawsuits impacting employers and their various workplace health and retirement benefit programs.