Tag Archives: ERISA

En Banc Court Overturns Prior ERISA Decision

Yesterday, the Sixth Circuit issued its en banc decision in Rochow v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 12-2074.   The original panel decision (which we previously discussed here) held that an ERISA plaintiff could recover under Section 502(a)(3), which allows for “appropriate equitable relief,” in addition to receiving his benefits under Section 502(a)(1)(B).  The … Continue Reading

Girl Scouts v. Girl Scouts: ERISA Wins

In a lengthy opinion last week, the Sixth Circuit resolved an intra-Girl Scouts retirement plan dispute that began in 2005. In so doing, the appellate panel demonstrated the broad preemption powers of ERISA and clarified the law’s application to multiple-employer plans. The problems began when the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) … Continue Reading

ERISA Forum Selection Clauses And Skidmore Deference

In Smith v. Aegon Companies Pension Plan (No. 12-5492), the Sixth Circuit decided whether to enforce a forum selection clause that was included in an ERISA plan seven years after the plaintiff’s benefits accrued.  The Secretary of Labor filed an amicus brief arguing that such clauses are incompatible with ERISA, which requires access to federal … Continue Reading

Does Your ERISA Benefit Denial Letter Limit Time To File Suit? Maybe Not!

A divided panel of the Sixth Circuit held yesterday in Moyer v. Met. Life Ins. Co. that an employee was entitled to bring suit against after the contractual limitations period in his ERISA-governed long term disability plan had expired, because the claim administrator failed to include the time limit for judicial review in the benefit revocation … Continue Reading

En Banc Granted In ERISA Disgorgement Case

On Friday, the Sixth Circuit granted en banc review of Rochow v. Life Insurance Company of North America, 737 F.3d 415 (6th Cir. 2013), a controversial decision holding that a ERISA plaintiff that already recovered his benefit under Section 502(a)(1)(B) could also recover for unjust enrichment under Section 502(a)(3).  The benefit in this case was … Continue Reading

The Sixth Circuit Delivers a Pair of Class Action Decisions

The Sixth Circuit yesterday handed down two class action decisions of interest, one involving dismissal of a complaint (Dudenhoefer v. Fifth Third Bancorp) and the other concerning certification issues (Young v. Nationwide Mutual Ins. Co.).  Judge Stranch authored both opinions. Dudenhoefer arises against the Sixth Circuit’s recent backdrop of insisting on detail in complaints in … Continue Reading

Court Parts Company with Sister Circuits on Presumptions at Pleading Stage of ERISA Suits

In a case echoing from the high-profile automobile bankruptcies of recent years, a panel of the Sixth Circuit recently considered Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of a class action alleging breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA as to two retirement plans for certain General Motors employees.  In Pfeil v. State Street Bank & Tr. Co. (6th Cir., … Continue Reading

ERISA Plan Language Trumps Federal Common Law

In a decision involving determination of a life insurance policy’s proper beneficiary, the Sixth Circuit ruled that the language of ERISA and the insurance policy must be followed before a court may resort to the application of federal common law. In Union Security Insurance Co. v. Blakeley (6th Cir., No. 09-4368, Feb. 15, 2011) [PDF], … Continue Reading

When Is An ERISA Plan Administrator An ERISA Plan Administrator?

Only when it is acting as such.  That, at least, is the answer from the Sixth Circuit in DeLuca v Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (pdf), which affirmed the grant of summary judgment of a putative ERISA class-action.  The defendant Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michican (BCBSM), Michigan’s biggest insurer with 4.3 million members, … Continue Reading

Knowledge Is Power — Or At Least Triggers the ERISA Statute of Limitations

The Sixth Circuit continues to liberally define the “actual knowledge” required to trigger the 3-year ERISA statute of limitations and, in doing so, affirmed summary judgment in favor of the defendants in Brown v. Owens Corning Investment Review (Case No. 09-3692). The Court confirmed its earlier rejection in Wright v. Heyne, 349 F.3d 321 (6th Cir. 2003) of the … Continue Reading