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SCOTUS Meant What It Said & Said What It Meant: Dudenhoeffer Imposes Higher Pleading Standards

January 27, 2016

Authors

Jeffrey Russell and Katharine Finley

SCOTUS Meant What It Said & Said What It Meant: Dudenhoeffer Imposes Higher Pleading Standards

January 27, 2016

by: Jeffrey Russell and Katharine Finley

Stock DropIn a rebuke to the Ninth Circuit, the Supreme Court granted the Amgen defendants’ petition for certiorari, reversed the Ninth Circuit’s judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with its opinion in the district court. The unanimous per curiam opinion was issued without further briefing and oral argument, an unusual step in civil cases. The substance of the opinion and its handling by summary disposition sends a clear message: the Court meant what it said in Dudenhoeffer when it stressed the role of motions to dismiss in “divid[ing] the plausible sheep from the meritless goats” and crafted new liability requirements that plaintiffs must plausibly allege are met in order to state a claim. Admittedly, we steal liberally from Judge Kozinski’s dissent in Amgen in characterizing the

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California Court Recognizes Same-Sex Marriage a Week Prior to Windsor

January 22, 2016

Authors

benefitsbclp

California Court Recognizes Same-Sex Marriage a Week Prior to Windsor

January 22, 2016

by: benefitsbclp

Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recognized the retroactive application of United States v. Windsor.

In Schuett v. FedEx Corporation, plaintiff and her long-time same-sex partner, Lesly Taboada-Hall were married in a civil ceremony on June 19, 2013. Taboada-Hall, a fully-vested participant in the FedEx Pension Plan, passed away the following day from cancer. As of the date of Taboada-Hall’s death, marriage licenses for same-sex couples were not available in California due to enforcement of Proposition 8, a voter-enacted ban on same-sex marriage. Six days later, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark Windsor decision declaring Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.

Here’s where this gets interesting. On August 6, 2013, plaintiff filed a Petition to Establish the Fact, Date, and Place of Marriage, as permitted by California Health & Safety

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401(k) Fee Update – Ninth Circuit Affirms Edison Decision

March 22, 2013

Authors

benefitsbclp

401(k) Fee Update – Ninth Circuit Affirms Edison Decision

March 22, 2013

by: benefitsbclp

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion in Tibble v. Edison International (Case: 10-56406, 03/21/2013), affirming the Central District of California district court’s ruling in a 401(k) fee case brought under ERISA.  The district court had rejected most claims but had entered judgment totaling just over $300,000 for the plaintiff beneficiaries on claims regarding the selection of certain mutual fund investment options, where lower-priced share classes were available in the same funds.  Highlights from the decision include:

Statute of Limitations

  • The Ninth Circuit rejected a “continuing violation theory” in favor of a bright-line rule that the act of designating an investment for inclusion starts the running of ERISA’s six-year SOL.
  • Beneficiaries did not have “actual knowledge” of the alleged deficiencies in the process for selecting retail class mutual funds for the plan’s investment line-up, and, therefore, ERISA’s three year SOL does not apply.
  • The panel
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Ninth Circuit Ruling: Insurer “logical defendant” in lawsuit to recover ERISA plan benefits

September 6, 2011

Authors

benefitsbclp

Ninth Circuit Ruling: Insurer “logical defendant” in lawsuit to recover ERISA plan benefits

September 6, 2011

by: benefitsbclp

On June 22, 2011, an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its much anticipated decision in Cyr v. Reliance Standard Ins. Co., 642 F.3d 1202 (9th Cir. 2011) (en banc). Considering the issue of whether ERISA section 1132(a)(1)(B) authorizes actions to recover plan benefits against an insurer, the Court overruled prior decisions and held that a claimant may sue an insurer directly for unpaid benefits, even if that insurer is not the plan administrator.

 In that case, Plaintiff Laura A. Cyr (“Cyr”) collected long-term disability benefits based on her compensation. While on long-term disability, Cyr sued her former employer for pay discrimination because of her sex. Cyr and the former employer settled that claim and the former employer retroactively adjusted Cyr’s salary. Cyr then approached the long-term disability insurer, Defendant Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company (“Reliance”) about adjusting her disability payments

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