Speaking to a room of plan sponsors and specialist consultants in Boston, two ERISA litigation experts offered a detailed review of recent action in big-ticket lawsuits impacting employer sponsored retirement plans.
Some 83,000 lawsuits have been filed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act in federal district court since 2009, according to Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company; fewer than 2% of cases proceed to trial.
The DOL has issued an advisory opinion letter in response to a request by Retirement Clearinghouse (RCH), for the Department’s opinion on the status of certain parties as “fiduciaries” as a result of actions undertaken as part of RCH’s Auto-Portability Program.
The request comes in a notice of proposed exemption from prohibited transactions for Retirement Clearinghouse's auto-portability solution.
Another district court ruling in the matter of Alas vs. AT&T sides in part with the plaintiffs and in part with the defendants, making yet another amended complaint likely even before any allegations can advance to trial.
Putnam Investments has asked for a stay in a case accusing it of self-dealing in its 401(k) plan so it can petition the U.S. Supreme Court regarding whether a plaintiff or an accused fiduciary has the burden of proving whether or not an ERISA fiduciary breach caused a loss.
The Department of Labor has published employee benefit plan compliance guidance and relief for victims of Hurricanes Florence and Michael, recognizing that plan fiduciaries and employers may encounter unavoidable issues with ERISA compliance.
Under DOL scrutiny, the Illinois-based employer has agreed to restore nearly $420,000 to its defined benefit pension plan.
The interim decision is a mixed bag that falls more in favor of the plaintiffs, but it by no means concludes the litigation—not least because plaintiffs have already filed a second amended complaint.
Finding "errors of law" in a district court's decision, the 1st Circuit remanded the duty of prudence claims for review.
In addition to self-dealing allegations, the complaint calls out Fidelity for not negotiating revenue sharing refunds for its 401(k) plan participants and not considering stable value options for its plan investment lineup, among other things.
Once a federal judge dismissed the breach of fiduciary duty claims, she found most defendants were not fiduciaries with respect to the remaining claim.
According to the court, the consolidated complaint “pleads no facts sufficient to raise a plausible inference that defendants took any of the actions alleged for the purpose of benefiting themselves or a third-party entity.”
At the heart of the complaint were guaranteed investment contracts, a type of group annuity contract sold to retirement plans, issued by Principal to ERISA-covered retirement plan participants.
A Maryland business owner will serve one year and one day of imprisonment and pay more than $350,000 in restitution for violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
The lawsuit seems keenly aware of the poor record other such complaints have had in federal court since the crucial Supreme Court ruling in Fifth-Third vs. Dudenhoeffer—focusing its arguments more on the imprudent concentration of employer stock as opposed to inflated valuations.
Wilmington Trust subsidiaries were found not to be fiduciaries, but other claims against the M&T Bank retirement plan committee were moved forward.
Advisers interested in participating are called on to submit info electronically.
The case ascended on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, where it also flatly failed to meet the high hurdles for proving standing established in Fifth-Third Bank vs. Dudenhoeffer.