Articles Posted in ERISA

by
Plaintiffs filed suit against defendants, challenging the management of a defined benefit pension plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants violated sections 404, 405, and 406 of ERISA by breaching their fiduciary obligations and causing the Plan to engage in prohibited transactions with a U.S. Bank subsidiary, FAF Advisors. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the case as moot based on the Plan's overfunded status where there was no actual or imminent injury to the Plan itself that caused injury to plaintiffs' interests; dismissal of the Equities Strategy claim on statute-of-limitations and pleading grounds; and dismissal of plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees and costs. View "Thole v. U.S. Bank" on Justia Law

Posted in: ERISA

by
Twin City filed suit seeking to recover unpaid fringe-benefit contributions allegedly due under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The district court granted summary judgment for the Association on the ground that WQS was precluded by a previous lawsuit from disputing liability for the contributions as an alter ego of a signatory of the agreement. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's determination that WQS was liable for the unpaid fringe-benefit contributions where all of the elements required to apply issue preclusion were present. The court held that the Association has a right to collect contributions under the CBA, but that two categories of damages were not authorized by the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. 1132, 1145, and that the award should be reduced accordingly. The court also upheld the district court's grant of injunctive relief. The court remanded for the district court to exclude contributions due to the Working Fee and Industry Fund from the damages award, and to reduce the award of interest accordingly. View "Twin City Pipe Trades Service Assoc. v. Wenner Quality Services, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: ERISA

by
The Fund filed suit against defendants under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(3), alleging that it had a right to a portion of a negligence settlement attributable to medical expenses. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the Fund, considering defendants' admissions that the settlement agreements included the claim for medical expenses. Therefore, the Fund was entitled to whatever was recovered for medical expenses in the settlement action. View "Mackey v. Johnson" on Justia Law

Posted in: ERISA

by
Jacob Plassmeyer incurred medical expenses during a collegiate baseball practice, and his college provided its student athletes insurance with FA. Jacob's father was also insured by the Dakotas, an employee welfare benefit plan, and Jacob was covered under this Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plan as a dependent of his father. In this case, the trustees of Dakotas brought this declaratory judgment action against FA under section 502(a)(3) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(3), seeking an order enforcing the coordination of benefits (COB) provisions in the Dakotas plan by declaring that FA's policy provided primary coverage of Jacob's claim for medical expenses already incurred. The district court denied FA's motion to dismiss and granted Dakotas' motion for summary judgment. The Eighth Circuit held that a declaratory judgment action to enforce the Dakotas plan as it applied to the claim for benefits was both consistent with the plain language of section 502(a)(3), as construed in light of historical equitable remedies available to trustees; the court agreed with the district court that FA's coverage was primary; but the district court abused its discretion in awarding attorney fees. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "Dakotas and Western Minnesota Electrical Industry Health & Welfare Fund v. First Agency, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: ERISA, Insurance Law

by
The Eighth Circuit affirmed MetLife's denial of long term disability (LTD) benefits to plaintiff under a group insurance plan sponsored by her former employer pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq. The court held that plaintiff presented no evidence of factors tending to demonstrate a consequential conflict of interest, or other indicia of biased decision making; the district court did not err by using an abuse of discretion standard of review; and MetLife did not abuse its discretion by denying LTD benefits to plaintiff where it properly considered all medical records, APS reports, comments, and other information submitted by plaintiff and her physicians. View "Cooper v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: ERISA

by
3M filed an insurance claim to recover losses incurred on a number of investments due to fraud perpetrated by its own investment advisors. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the Insurers, holding that the ownership requirement of Endorsement 8 applies to the Employee Dishonesty provision. Therefore, 3M does not own the stolen earnings and cannot seek coverage for the earnings under the Policy. Until the earnings were distributed to the partners, the stolen earnings were property of WG Trading, not 3M. The court explained that it is fundamental that property acquired with partnership funds is partnership property, and individual partners do not own partnership assets until the winding up of the partnership. Finally, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., does not alter general commercial property rights, but merely defines the nature and scope of the fiduciary duties owed to plan participants. View "3M v. National Union Fire Insurance" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., for denial of benefits and breach of fiduciary duty. The district court dismissed the fiduciary claim as duplicative of the denial-of-benefits claim, and granted summary judgment against plaintiff on the denial-of-benefits claim. The Eighth Circuit explained that this court's cases conflict about whether a participant or beneficiary bringing a section 1132(a)(1)(B) claim "to recover benefits due to him under the terms of his plan" may also bring a section 1132(a)(3) claim to obtain benefits. The Eighth Circuit held that Silva v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. was controlling in this case, where an (a)(1)(B) claimant may seek relief under (a)(3); because the two claims in this case assert different theories of liability, the court reversed as to the (a)(3) claim; Aetna's no-disability determination as to the (a)(1)(B) claim was reasonable and the court rejected plaintiff's arguments to the contrary; the district court correctly struck the Supplemental Administrative Record materials that were not before the plan administrator when it made its discretionary determination; and the court declined to consider plaintiff's remaining arguments. Accordingly, the Eighth Circuit affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Jones v. Aetna Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: ERISA

by
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's claims against Blue Cross in a suit filed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., after Blue Cross denied round-the-clock in-home health coverage. The district court properly dismissed Count I and II, because these claims for round-the-clock in-home nursing services were contrary to the plain meaning of the private-duty nursing exclusions in the 2012 and 2013 policies. The district court properly dismissed Count VI because the policy plainly excluded extended hours skilled nursing care, and plaintiffs may not use an estoppel theory to enlarge benefits under a written plan. View "Spizman v. BCBSM, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: ERISA

by
Plaintiffs, a class of employees who participated in ABB's retirement plans, filed suit alleging that ABB and its fiduciaries managed the plans for their own benefit, rather than for the participants. In an earlier appeal, the court directed the district court to "reevaluate" how the participants might have been injured if the ABB fiduciaries breached their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., when they changed the investment options for the plans. The district court misunderstood the court's direction for a definitive ruling on how to measure plan losses and thus entered judgment for the ABB fiduciaries even though the district court found that they breached their duties. Therefore, the court vacated the judgment on that claim and remanded for further consideration regarding whether the participants can prove losses to the plans. The court also vacated and remanded the district court's award of attorney fees because the court reopened one of the participant's substantive claims. View "Tussey v. ABB, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: ERISA

by
Plaintiff and eight others filed a class action against Anheuser-Busch under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq. Plaintiffs are participants in the Anheuser-Busch salaried employee pension plan and claim that they are entitled to enhanced pension benefits. At issue is the interpretation of Section 19.11(f) of the plan. Determining that it has jurisdiction over the appeal, the court concluded that Section 19.11(f) is unambiguous and agreed with the district court's adoption of the reasoning in the Sixth Circuit's case, Adams v. Anheuser-Busch Cos., that Section 19.11(f) entitled plaintiffs to enhanced benefits. Although the court affirmed on the merits, the court agreed with plaintiffs that the decision still must be reversed and remanded because the district court failed to make individual calculations of enhanced benefits owed to individual members of the class. Therefore, the court reversed and remanded with instructions to reconsider plaintiffs' prayer for relief and, to the extent requested and provable, calculate and award the benefits owed to plaintiffs by applying Section 19.11(f). The court noted that, upon remand, the district court may reconsider whether certain records will assist in its calculation of the requested benefits. View "Knowlton v. Anheuser-Busch" on Justia Law

Posted in: ERISA