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Docket: Employee Pensions and Benefits

Case Name: Brotherston v. Putnam Investments

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 1st Cir.     Docket: 17-1711

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The appeals court reinstated a case alleging that Putnam breached its fiduciary duty by, among other things, packing the 401(k) plan with an excessive number of high-cost proprietary Putnam funds. 


Case Name: Carroll v. City and County of San Francisco

Court: Cal. Supreme Court Docket: S259558

Decided: 1/29/2020

Read AARP's Amicus Letter (PDF)  

Case Issue: Can a public entity be held liable for age discrimination in disability retirement benefits under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), where the discrimination is mandated by a facially discriminatory legislative provision requiring payment of reduced retirement benefits to persons hired after age 40?

Case Result: Sought relief was achieved. California Supreme Court was urged not to review an appellate court decision favorable to the economic security of California state retirees and the Court denied review.


Case Name: U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. U.S. Dep't of Labor (Motion to Intervene and Petition for Rehearing)

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 5th Cir. Docket: 17-10238

Read AARP's Petition for Rehearing (PDF), Motion to Intervene (PDF) and Decision (PDF)

Case Result: In a 2-to-1 order, the Fifth Circuit panel denied AARP's motion to intervene to file a petition for rehearing en banc to review the court's invalidation of the Department of Labor's Fiduciary Rule that protects consumers from conflicts of interest when saving for their retirement.


Case Name: Divane v. Northwestern University

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 7th Cir. Docket: 18-2569

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Do plaintiffs claiming breach of fiduciary duty have to include details about defendants' operations that they could not possibly know in order to get past a motion to dismiss?


Case Name: Dorman v. Charles Schwab Corp.

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 9th Cir. Docket: 18-15281

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Should the Ninth Circuit grant rehearing en banc of its panel's ruling that employers, via arbitration contract, can strip individual 401(k) retirement plan participants of their right under ERISA to bring federal court actions for fiduciary breach on behalf of the entire plan, see 29 U.C.S. §§ 1132(a)(2) and 1109(a).


Case Name: Express Scripts/Anthem ERISA Litig (In re)

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 2d Cir. Docket: 18-346

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Did the complaint plausibly allege that Anthem and Express Scripts are both fiduciaries under ERISA's functional definition of a fiduciary and that they both breached their fiduciary duties? 


Case Name: Hartshorne  v. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York

Court: New York Supreme Ct., Schenectady County   Docket: 2019-1989

Read Complaint (PDF), Press ReleaseCorp Opposition Brief (PDF) and Church Opposition Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Did the Defendants, including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, violate New York state laws concerning contracts, promises, and fiduciaries when they either stopped paying or drastically reduced the pensions of former employees of St. Clare's Hospital?


Case Name: Intel v. Sulyma

Court: U.S. Supreme Court Docket: 18-1116

Decided: 2/26/2020

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)  

Case Result: The Court, per Justice Alito, held that receiving ERISA disclosures did not automatically mean that the participant had "actual knowledge" of a breach of fiduciary duty, so the three-year statute of limitations did not apply. 


Case Name: Jammal v. Am. Family Ins. 

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 6th Cir.     Docket: 17-4125

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Was the district court correct in finding that American Family treated its insurance agents as employees?


Case Name: Market Synergy Group v. DOL

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 10th Cir. Docket: 17-3038

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) and Opinion (PDF)

Case Result: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld the Department of Labor's "Fiduciary Rule" which regulates the financial advice given to retirement savers. The court held that the Department of Labor gave sufficient notice of the proposed rule change and acted reasonably in treating fixed indexed annuities differently from other fixed annuities. 


Case Name: Munro v. Univ. of S. Cal.

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 9th Cir.     Docket: 17-55550

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) and Decision

Case Result: The court denied USC's motion to compel arbitration because the Retirement Plan was not a party to the arbitration agreement. 


Case Name: National Ass'n for Fixed Annunities v. Perez

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. D.C.  Docket: 1:16-1035  

Read Summary and AARP's Memorandum (PDF)

Case Result: The decision rejected all of the challenges to the Department of Labor's conflict of interest regulation, thereby upholding the rule.


Case Name: Rutledge v. Pharmacy Care Management Assn.

Court: U.S. Supreme Ct.  Docket: 18-450

Filed: 3/2/2020

Read AARP's Amicus Brief  (PDF)

Case Issue:  Many states have passed laws regulating health care market players to address rising health care costs. Does ERISA, the federal law that protects employee benefits, say that states can't do this because the state laws could potentially affect employee benefit plans in some remote way?


Case Name: Santomenno v. Transamerica Life Ins.

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 9th Cir.    Docket: 16-56418

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The Ninth Circuit held that retirement plan service providers cannot be liable as fiduciaries under federal benefits law for negotiating their compensation with employers or receiving the agreed-upon payments because the employer sponsoring the 401(k) plan is free to reject the deal. The court also found that Transamerica was not acting as an ERISA fiduciary when it withdrew no more than its predetermined compensation from 401(k) plan accounts because these actions were ministerial in nature and could not form the basis of a fiduciary breach claim. 


Case Name: Teets v. Great-West

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 10th Cir. Docket: 18-1019

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) and Decision

Case Result: Appellate court upheld the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's ERISA claims on the basis that Great West was not acting as a fiduciary.


Case Name: Thole v. U.S. Bank

Court: U.S. Supreme Court Docket: 17-1712

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Can individuals sue for breach of fiduciary duty on behalf of the entire employee benefits plan, even if they haven't lost any benefits themselves yet?


Case Name: U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. U.S. Dep't of Labor

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 5th Cir. Docket: 17-10238

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) and Decision (PDF)

Case Result: The fifth circuit vacated the Department of Labor's Fiduciary Rule that protects consumers from conflicts of interest when saving for their retirement. 


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