Foundation Publication Search Results

These summaries were compiled from Foundation Publications Search, a database of articles, research reports and books published by the International Foundation and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists.


Other Recent Decisions.
Benefits Magazine; v54 no6 pp 60-62 Jun 2017; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Summarizes cases on fiduciary duties, bankruptcy, health and welfare, fiduciary duties and probate exception to federal jurisdiction.
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Other Recent Decisions.
Benefits Magazine; v54 no3 p 63 Mar 2017; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Summarizes legal cases on benefit litigation, health and welfare, preemption and disability benefits.
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Employees Wrongfully Terminated Under USERRA.
Benefits Magazine; v53 no10 p 63 Oct 2016; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia holds that the defendant equipment company discriminated against the plaintiff employees for assisiting a former military serviceman in a separate lawsuit against the company.
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The Top 10 ACA Traps for the Unwary.
Garner, John C.; Benefits Magazine; v53 no9 pp 22-26 Sep 2016; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is more than six years old, employers and employees are still figuring our the law's complexities. Identifies ten situations that could cause problems.
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Other Recent Decisions.
Benefits Magazine; v52 no8 pp 69-70 Aug 2015; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : In McDonough v. Aetna Life Insurance Company et al. the First Circuit Appeals Court vacated the lower court's summary judgment for the defendant. After suffering strokelike symptoms, the plaintiff was granted long-term disability benefits but was determined to be no longer disabled a year later, based on his physician's opinion that he could perform sedentary work. The appeals court found the decision to end benefits failed to consider the requirements of the plaintiff's job. In Medford v. Prudential Insurance Company of America et al. the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted summary judgment for the plaintiff. The plaintiff elected life insurance coverage for himself and his wife. The wife died while the plaintiff was on short-term disability leave, but the defendant insurer denied benefits, claiming the plaintiff was not actively at work. The court found the plan document ambiguous and the plan administrator's decision to be arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion. In Leon-Serrano et al. v. Northwestern Selecta, Inc. the plaintiff employee and welfare plan beneficiaries asserted the defendant employer failed to provide adequate notification about the availability of COBRA. Though the defendant sent notices to the plaintiff employee's beneficiaries, the recipients challenged the timing and adequacy of the notice, partly because it failed to state each qualified beneficiary had an independent right to elect COBRA coverage or explain ramifications of declining. The court granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs.
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Looking Past Due Diligence for Benefit Plans in Mergers and Acquisitions.
Komornicka, Mary L.; Benefits Quarterly; v31 pp 8-14 3rd Qtr 2015; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Employee benefit plans often get short shrift in the due diligence process for mergers and acquisitions. The buyer in a stock sale assumes responsibility and liability for the seller's benefit plans but, without a full understanding of the inherited plans, designs and features, is exposed to risk. For health and welfare plans, acquiring companies need to know about reserves for runoff claims, coverage availability, COBRA liability, retiree plans and Affordable Care Act issues, as well as vacation and sick pay obligations. Retirement plans may be delayed implementing actions for regulatory compliance. Defined contribution, defined benefit and executive benefit plans each have unique concerns and potential risks that demand careful evaluation. Ideally, benefit professionals are involved early in the transition process to review and identify issues.
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Other Recent Decisions.
Benefits Magazine; v52 no7 pp 67-69 Jul 2015; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : In Perez v. Harris et al. the Secretary of the DOL, as plaintiff, alleged the defendant company's chief executive officer (CEO) failed to remit health plan payments to the insurance company. After a magistrate judge recommended denying summary judgment for the plaintiff, the plaintiff complained the definition of fiduciary was misstated in that judge's report. Finding the key question to be whether the CEO actually exercised fiduciary authority, the District Court for Minnesota accepted the magistrate judge's report despite the misstatement. In Silvaggio v. Cement Masons Local 526 Pension Fund the District Court for Western Pennsylvania ruled against the plaintiff, the wife of a deceased plan participant, who alleged breach of fiduciary duty for the plan's failure to reconfirm the participant's pension benefit election before he died. The election of a 50 percent joint and survivor option yielded higher benefits during his 20-year retirement but dropped to 50 percent for the spouse upon the participant's death. Plan documents specified that the 50 percent option was the default without a valid election. In Corrigan v. Local 6, Bakery, Confectionary and Tobacco Workers et al. the plaintiff contended he never received a COBRA notice that the plan administrator mailed to his last known address. The District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania noted the administrator's good faith compliance with COBRA notice requirements, which stop short of assuring receipt of notice. In Spence v. Union Security Insurance Company, the plaintiff was denied disability benefits initially and on appeal. Though the defendant's final denial stated the case was closed, the plaintiff sued for unpaid benefits nearly a year later. The defendant responded that the complaint was well past the plan's limitations period. The District Court for Oregon ruled that, since the defendant's determination letter failed to inform the plaintiff of his right to bring civil action after a denial, the limitations period was never triggered. In Montoya v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company et al. the plaintiff sought full access to reports of independent medical examinations arranged by the defendant insurer for the plaintiff's disability benefits claim. The District Court for the Northern District of California cited the DOL's regulation that documents used for an initial benefit determination must be shared, but those generated through appeal do not need to be shared until after the appeal decision is made.
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Other Recent Decisions.
Benefits Magazine; v52 no4 pp 68-70 Apr 2015; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : In Cole et al. v. Trinity Health Corporation the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the defendant in a suit for damages for failure to notify an employee about COBRA eligibility. The employer paid the plaintiff employee's health claims but reserved rights to pursue reimbursement if a long-term disability claim were denied. The lower and appeals courts rejected the actual damages request since the COBRA premium would exceed costs related to unpaid claims when they had no coverage. The courts also rejected statutory damages for the employer's failure to provide COBRA notification since they received an extra 11 months of coverage without a request for repayment. In Russell v. Harman International Industries et al. the Appeals Court for the District of Columbia ruled a former employee could not sue over an employer stock price drop since he had accepted a severance agreement waving ERISA claims up to the agreement date. Though the lower court may have erred under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure regarding discovery, the appeals court found no further discovery would have changed the result. In Twin City Pipe Trades Service Association, Inc. et al. v. MSES, LLC the plaintiffs sued the defendant for delinquent benefit contributions to be distributed to benefit plans, attorney fees and a bond to cover future failures. The District Court for Minnesota granted summary judgment for the plaintiff for the delinquent contributions, damages and interest, fees and costs, but not the bond. While the collective bargaining agreement required a bond covering three months, the defendant had not worked for two years. In Rainey v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada et al. the Middle District Court for Tennessee found the defendant should pay an equitable surcharge for misleading a plan participant about being covered under a more generous plan. The plaintiff, the deceased participant's spouse who relied on the defendant's misrepresentation, was granted the difference between the life insurance benefit she expected and what the defendant paid. In CECO Concrete Construction, LLC v. Centennial State Carpenters Pension Trust the District Court for Colorado upheld an arbitrator's ruling on withdrawal liability from a multiemployer benefit plan. The plaintiff construction company met conditions to avoid liability under ERISA's terms. The court agreed liability could not be forced on another company, allegedly under common control, because it acquired the plaintiff five months after the plaintiff's withdrawal from the plan.
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Benefits in Time of Mergers and Acquisitions: Part II.
Komornicka, Mary; Benefits Magazine; v52 no3 pp 32-37 Mar 2015; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : In addition to pension plans, any corporate merger or acquisition also significantly affects health plans, additional benefits and human resource planning and communication. Differences in health benefits, networks and the funding status of the original plan can impede a smooth transition from the seller's plan to the buyer's. The acquiring company usually assumes COBRA liability for employees who are terminated or already on COBRA, but COBRA liability should be specified. In a stock sale the parties must work out obligations to retired workers and the buyer assumes responsibility for flexible savings accounts, in contrast to asset sales. HR personnel should inventory all benefit plans, including voluntary plans and supplemental benefits, to assist strategic decision making and employee communications.
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Other Recent Decisions.
Benefits Magazine; v52 no3 pp 68-70 Mar 2015; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The plaintiffs in Chanthavong et al. v. Union Security Insurance Company sought death benefits for the decedent's child after the insured decedent drowned following a seizure. The District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, citing a similar case of a death only indirectly related to a preexisting condition, agreed the drowning and not the seizure led to death and granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs. In Wit et al. v. United Behavioral Health the defendant insurance company sought dismissal of the plaintiffs' class action suit alleging improper denial of mental health benefits and a surcharge as equitable relief. The District Court for the Northern District of California rejected dismissal and allowed the case to proceed for more fact-intensive inquiries. In Food Employers Labor Relations Association and United Food & Commercial Workers Health and Welfare Fund v. Dove the plaintiff multiemployer health plan argued the defendant plan participant should make restitution for benefits paid for his wife since he had not paid for her coverage. The District Court for Maryland ruled against the plan since the defendant was never in control of payments that were conveyed directly to care providers. In Aviation West Charters, Inc. v. United Healthcare Insurance Company et al., the District Court for Arizona ruled the plaintiff transportation company did not have standing to sue the defendant insurance company to pay for services provided. The health plan prohibited participants from assigning benefits to a nonnetwork provider, such as the plaintiff, without the insurer's consent. The court found the document clear and granted summary judgment for the defendants. In Vangas et al. v. Montefiore Medical Center et al. the plaintiffs contended they never received required notice by mail of COBRA eligibility after termination of employment. The defendant gave evidence of mailing the notice, which the plaintiff acknowledged, despite an incorrect city abbreviation. The District Court for the Southern District of New York found the defendant fulfilled their good faith obligation to notify the plaintiff and denied the plaintiff's claim for relief.
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Looking Under the Hood: Top Five Open Issues for the Cadillac Tax.
Stover, Richard; Laderman, Leslye; Benefits Quarterly; v31 no1 pp 22-25 1st Qtr 2015; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The Affordable Care Act's 40 percent excise tax on generous health benefits, dubbed the Cadillac tax, starts in 2018. Key questions revolve around its application to employee health savings account contributions, dental and vision plans, employee assistance plans, onsite clinics and expatriate plans. The tax is based on the aggregate cost of coverage, including employer and employee contributions, determined in a similar way to COBRA rates. The tax applies beyond coverage cost thresholds that vary by age and gender, with different effects according to workforce demographics. The Cadillac tax is to be paid by coverage providers, i.e. the insurer of insured plans, employer for health savings account contributions and plan administrator for self-funded plans, creating potentially complex allocations. Responsibility may fall to insurers but ultimately be borne by the employer through grossed up charges to cover the tax.
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Employer Interfered With FMLA Leave and Intentionally Violated COBRA.
Benefits Magazine; v51 no12 p 57 Dec 2014; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : In Evans v. Books-a-Million the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the defendant employer violated the plaintiff employee's Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and COBRA rights by coercing the plaintiff to work from home and failing to provide the plaintiff with notice of her rights after her termination. The plaintiff made several claims, all of which except an intentional COBRA violation were ruled against by a district court. The Eleventh Circuit upheld the district court's ruling in favor of the defendant on the plaintiff's claims of violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act and the district court's ruling in favor of the plaintiff on the COBRA claim, but ruled that the district court erred in dismissing the FMLA claim and in not considering litigation-related expenses as part of the awarded attorney fees.
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Employer Penalized for Failing to Send COBRA Notice.
Benefits Quarterly; v30 no4 p 73 4th Qtr 2014; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : After an employee, the primary plaintiff in Regina C. Honey et al. v. Dignity Health, was dismissed from employment, the employer who also served as health plan administrator failed to provide notification of COBRA rights. The plaintiff stated she repeatedly sought the notice but was left without coverage for herself and her children. After childbirth and followup care, the plaintiff and dependents faced medical expenses, lack of medical care, damaged credit score and mental distress. The federal district court for Nevada ruled the employer's 168-day delay issuing the required COBRA notice was unreasonable and violated COBRA rules. The court granted damages for the employee and dependents, payment of expenses and over $25,000 in penalties.
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Department of Labor Proposes Revised COBRA Notices and Regulations.
Benefits Magazine; v51 no9 pp 66, 68 Sep 2014; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : In May 2014 the DOL issued proposed regulations regarding COBRA notice requirements that align with the Affordable Care Act. The DOL's earlier Technical Release 2013-02 included a model election notice highlighting the possible interaction of COBRA and insurance exchange alternatives. The 2014 model notice includes expanded and updated information on the exchanges and supersedes model notices in the 2004 COBRA regulation appendices. Use of the model notices is not required until rules are finalized and take effect. The DOL, HHS and Treasury Department also provided frequently asked questions, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued guidance on COBRA election and enrollment.
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Court Finds Evidence of Retaliatory Discharge.
Benefits Magazine; v51 no4 pp 64-65 Apr 2014; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : In Kwan v. The Andalex Group LLC, the plaintiff was reprimanded for leaving work early without permission, complained about gender discrimination and was terminated three weeks later. Responding to the discrimination charge filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the defendant first cited significant business changes as the cause for dismissal, though company representatives gave conflicting reasons. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendant on discrimination and retaliation. The Second Circuit Appeals Court found the plaintiff met all requirements for a prima facie case of retaliation, particularly corporate knowledge about the alleged retaliation and causal connection. The court reversed the lower court's ruling but declined to grant summary judgment for failure of COBRA notification, given no bad faith or suffering from lack of coverage.
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Plaintiff May Proceed With Alter Ego Theory in Fiduciary Liability and COBRA Notification Claims.
Benefits Magazine; v51 no1 p 59 Jan 2014; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The plaintiff in Weiland et al. v. AssureCare, Inc. et al. was employed by a company associated with several others, all defendants in the case. The plaintiff asserted her employer would not let her enroll in the group health plan because of family medical history and failed to inform her of COBRA rights, resulting in significant personal medical expenses. The district court for the Northern District of Illinois noted the plan documents named one defendant company as fiduciary and plan administrator. The plaintiff alleged the document was inaccurate and that the defendant companies were alter egos, engaged in a shell game to avoid employment obligations. The court determined that ruling on the merits of the case would be premature without determining the rightful defendants. The court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss and allowed the plaintiff's case alleging breach of fiduciary duty and COBRA notification violation to proceed.
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Other Recent Decisions.
Benefits Magazine; v50 no9 pp 75-78 Sep 2013; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : In Lampron v. Group Life Insurance and Disability Plan of United Technology Corp., the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine upheld the plan administrator's denial of additional extended disability benefits beyond the plaintiff's termination date. The court ruled there was no interference with ERISA rights since the plaintiff was no longer entitled to benefits beyond his termination date. In Cox v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., the defendant denied the supplemental death benefits following the plan participant's death. The Eastern District of California determined the plan was governed by ERISA, but damages sought by the plaintiffs was not a traditional equitable remedy and dismissed the claim. In Larzik v. Local 464A UFCW Union Welfare Service Benefit Fund the District of New Jersey ruled a former employee's failure to pay COBRA premiums undermined his eligibility for continuing coverage. When his special arrangement of eight months of extra coverage ended, no qualifying event occurred to prompt a further COBRA offer, and the plan was not liable for his private insurance premiums and extra expenses. In Computer and Engineering Services Inc. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, the plaintiff learned the defendant was secretly charging higher fees to administer a self-funded health plan. With questions of the appropriate statute of limitations and possible fraud, the Eastern District of Michigan required additional analysis of facts but dismissed the plaintiff's state law claims as preempted by ERISA. In Vanderkam v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation the federal court for the District of Columbia upheld the PBGC's ruling that the ex wife of a pension plan participant, to whom he was married when he retired, was entitled to share in their qualified joint and survivor annuity. Though the participant designated a second wife as alternate payee, the PBGC, responsible for handling the terminated plan, found the first wife the proper beneficiary.
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COBRA Rights Triggered at Resignation Regardless of Continued Coverage.
Benefits Magazine; v50 no8 pp 59, 62 Aug 2013; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The plaintiff in Fama v. Design Assistance Corporation et al. was covered by the defendant's group health plan before resigning after two months of coverage. The defendant retained her on the plan for six months in error and cancelled coverage retroactively. It reinstated coverage retroactively for six months and cancelled again three months later, finally providing notification of COBRA eligibility. The plaintiff asserted she should have received notification promptly upon her resignation and sought redress under COBRA and ERISA in addition to reimbursement for medical expenses. The district court recognized her resignation as a triggering event for COBRA and imposed statutory penalties on the defendant. The Third Circuit Appeals Court affirmed the decision and imposition of penalties. The defendant's reinstatement of coverage did not negate the COBRA notification requirement. Because the plaintiff cited no statutory authority for reimbursement of medical costs and could have submitted the costs to the plan, the court did not mandate compensation.
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The Interaction of Health Care Reform and Older Benefit Laws.
Garner, John C.; Benefits Magazine; v50 no8 pp 22-25 Aug 2013; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Existing regulations for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, COBRA, Michelle's Law and qualified medical child support orders are significantly affected by provisions under the newer Affordable Care Act. Certificates of creditable coverage are rendered obsolete, superseded by the prohibition on limits for preexisting conditions. The need for COBRA when losing group health coverage is diminished with easier access through health insurance exchanges. However, some details of COBRA remain in effect, and the DOL's Technical Release 2013-02 provides an updated election notice with information on comparing COBRA and exchange plan costs. Employers should plan to provide educational messages on pros and cons of COBRA, and they may consider dropping early retiree insurance. Questions remain about the extent of preventive services to be provided with no cost sharing.
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Other Recent Decisions.
Benefits Magazine; v50 no5 pp 69-70 May 2013; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : In Lockhart v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee et al., the employer failed to notify the group health insurer that the plaintiff was on COBRA when the insurer transferred policies to a different insurer. The Eleventh Circuit Appeals Court dismissed the case, ruling the insurers were not liable for ERISA claims and the breach of fiduciary duty complaint exceeded the three-year statute of limitations. In Curley v. Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc. et al. the defendant terminated the plaintiff's long-term disability benefits after 24 months, finding her not totally disabled under the plan. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court's grant of summary judgment for the defendant in view of substantial medical evidence. In Weitzenkamp v. UNUM Life Insurance Co. of America, the administrator ended the plaintiff's long-term disability benefits for self-reported symptoms after 24 months. The Seventh Circuit Appeals Court ruled that objective medical evidence supported the diagnosis, rejecting the eligibility limitation. But the court did not grant attorney fees since the defendant's position was substantially justified.
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Other Recent Decisions.
Benefits Magazine; v49 no12 pp 67-70 Dec 2012; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The Sixth Circuit Appeals Court upheld the lower court's dismissal of the plaintiff's claims in Christoff et al. v. Ohio Northern University Employee Benefit Plan. The court found no procedural errors in processing the claim for benefits associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, no conflict of interest, prejudice or lack of qualified reviewers and no need for a physical exam or input from the individual's treating physician. In Berry et al. v. Frank's Auto Body Carstar Inc. et al., the plaintiff claimed his dismissal was in retaliation for seeking health care benefits for his quadriplegic child. The dismissal resulted from a verbal altercation and the employee's creating a hostile work environment. The Sixth Circuit found the termination justified, no eligibility for COBRA and no evidence supporting the retaliation claim. In Matthews v. National Football League Management Council et al. the Ninth Circuit upheld an arbitrator's finding and district court ruling against the plaintiff. A professional football player in Tennessee and Texas, the plaintiff sought workers compensation benefits in California six years after retiring. The court ruled California was not liable for injuries suffered in other states. In Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund et al. v. E & L Development Inc., the defendant agreed with the calculated withdrawal liability assessment principal and other costs but disputed the starting time for interest on liquidated damages. The District Court for Northern Illinois ruled the plaintiff plan was statutorially entitled to an accelerated full liability payment since the defendant failed to make interim payments.
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Beware of Exceptions.
Brislin, Joseph A.; Benefits Magazine; v49 no11 p 9 Nov 2012; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Two scenarios together raise the question of how to handle unusual appeals to pension plan or health plan trustees after a claim denial. In one, a laid off worker requested enrollment in COBRA after the eligibility deadline to contend with massive medical bills. In the other, an employee newly diagnosed with a serious disease requested permission to pay the final three months of pension contributions instead of working to attain eligibility for disability retirement. Both situations are outside the eligibility rules set in trust documents and summary plan documents. Trustees must abide by their fiduciary duty to manage assets for the good of all plan participants and beneficiaries. They are obligated by this duty to all to follow the rules and procedures without exception.
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Court Dismisses Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims.
Benefits Magazine; v49 no11 pp 64-66 Nov 2012; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The plaintiff in Walker v. Federal Express Corp. et al. was the widow of the defendant company's former employee who suffered a stroke and took leave but was terminated for failing to return to work. He continued paying group life insurance premiums but did not convert to individual policy under COBRA, alleging no notification about conversion was received. After his death his wife filed for life insurance benefits but was denied. The district court grant of summary judgment for the defendant was upheld by the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court. The court rejected the claim of fiduciary breach since there was no injury to the plan as a whole and found the third-party administrator, responsible for notifications, was not an ERISA fiduciary, according to plan documents. Last, the court found no ERISA requirement for plan administrators to provide notice about conversion rights beyond what is stated in a summary plan document.
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Other Recent Decisions.
Benefits Magazine; v49 no4 pp 68-70 Apr 2012; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Contested withdrawal liability prompted the case of Plan Board of Sunkist Retirement Plan v. Harding & Leggett Inc. The defendant company argued the basis for the liability calculation was erroneous in three ways. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found one point based on a clerical error but otherwise affirmed the plaintiff's assessment of withdrawal liability. In Trustees of the U.A. Local 125 Health and Welfare Plan et al. v. A'Hearn Plumbing & Heating Inc. et al. the District Court for the Northern District of Iowa refused to grant a company's motion for summary judgment, finding disputed issues of material fact that cloud the company's relationship with the primary defendant company. In International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Works of America et al. v. Kelsey-Hayes Co. et al., the Eastern Michigan District Court ruled the plaintiff retirees, seeking determination of lifetime health benefits, were bound by a plant closing agreement that terminated the collective bargaining agreement. Whether the plant closing agreement applies to retirees must be decided through arbitration. In Boddicker v. Esurance Insurance Services Inc., the District of South Dakota awarded the plaintiff a statutory penalty of $22,700 after finding the defendant failed to send COBRA notice to the plaintiff. In Smith v. Stockwell Construction Co. Inc. et al., the plaintiff was the ex-wife of a profit sharing plan participant and the designated beneficiary. Upon the participant's death, the plan awarded benefits to the participant's father. The District Court for Western New York permitted the plaintiff's claim about producing plan documents and notifying her of her rights to move forward, while dismissing the defendants' motion to dismiss.
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Other Recent Decisions.
Benefits Magazine; v49 no3 pp 66-68 Mar 2012; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : In Janese et al. v. Fay et al., the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York maintained its previous dismissal of the plaintiffs' claims was appropriately time barred. It rejected their contention that the activities leading to the suit were part of an ongoing single scheme that benefited older participants and found no new evidence or change to overcome the statute of limitations. In Blaikie v. RSight Inc. et al., the District Court for the Middle District of Florida granted summary judgment for the defendant, which terminated the plaintiff's COBRA coverage for nonpayment. The court found the plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies and was not entitled to claim equitable estoppel and that her legal actions exceeded the statute of limitations. In Strobel v. Dillon et al., the Eastern Michigan District Court dismissed the claim of the plaintiff, a state inmate whose incarceration costs were to be deducted from his monthly pension benefit. The court ruled it did not have jurisdiction over the plaintiff's claim of alienation of benefits but concluded the action was barred by res judicata, since the issue has been addressed by the Michigan Supreme Court and the Sixth Circuit.
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