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Docket: Employee Benefits

Case Name: Teets v. Great-West

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

Filed: 4/18/2018

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Can an insurer which sets the rate of return for an investment, and thus controls plan assets, escape fiduciary obligations merely because the participants have the ability to choose another plan investment option?

Case Name: Jammal v. Am. Family Ins. 

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 6th Cir.     Docket: 17-4215

Filed: 3/16/2018

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

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

Decided: 3/15/2018

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. 

Case Name: Market Synergy Group v. DOL

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

Decided: 3/13/2018

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

Filed: 01/04/2018

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Can an arbitration agreement signed only by University of Southern California (but not the plan) and the participant force the retirement plan participants to arbitrate, rather than litigate in court, their claims of fiduciary breach against the plan?

Case Name: Brotherston v. Putnam Investments

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

Filed: 11/20/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Does complicance with the Investment Company Act of 1940 equate to compliance with ERISA's fiduciary duties?

Is a settlor's contributions to an ERISA plan a defense to claims for a trustee's breach of fiduciary duty?

Case Name: Thrivent Financial for Lutherans v. Perez

Court: U.S. Dist Ct. Minn Docket: 16-cv-03289-SRN-HB

Decided: 11/3/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) 

Case Result: The U.S. Dist. Court of Minnesota enjoined the Labor Department from enforcing the fiduciary rule's anti-arbitration provision against Thrivent, after DOJ changed its position, claiming the rule was at odds with federal law.


Case Name: Waldbuesser (formerly Grabek) v. Northrop Grumman Corp.

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. CD Cal.    Docket: 06-cv-06213-R CJC

Settled: 10/24/2017

Case Result: A settlement of $16,750,000, 4 incentive awards of $25,000 each, expenses of $1,159,114, and attorneys' fees of $5,583,333. Does not include settlement of companion case Marshall v. Northrop Grumman for claims after May 11, 2009.

Case Name: Thole v. U.S. Bank

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 8th Cir.  Docket: 16-1928

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Decided: 10/12/2017

Case Result: Relying on a 2002 decision, the court held ERISA does not allow a participant in a defined benefit plan to bring a lawsuit claiming liability and injunctive relief for alleged breaches of fiducairy duties when the plan is overfunded. 

Case Name: National Ass'n for Fixed Annuities v. DOL

Court: U.S. Ct. App. D.C. Cir. Docket: 16-5345

Filed: 9/22/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Did the Department of Labor violate the Administrative Procedure Act in adopting the Conflict of Interest/Fiduciary Rule to reduce conflict of interests for participants in their retirement accounts, particularly with regard to fixed index annuities?

Case Name: Ariana M. v. Humana Health Plan of Texas

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 5th Cir.   Docket: 16-20174

Decided: 7/10/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: Court granted rehearing to decide the proper standard of judicial review in benefit disputes.


Case Name: Osberg v. Foot Locker Retirement Plan

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 2d Cir.    Docket: 15-3602-cv

Decided: 7/6/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: Foot Locker must pay workers higher pension benefits to correct a 1996 retirement plan change that amounted to an impermissible and undisclosed benefit freeze. The court said the workers weren't required to show on an individual basis that they detrimentally relied on Foot Locker's statements about their pensions.


Case Name: Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton consolidated with Saint Peter's Healthcare System v. Kaplan and Dignity Health v. Rollins

Court: U.S. Supreme Court   Docket: 16-74, 16-86, 16-258

Decided: 6/5/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) and Article

Case Result: In an 8-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) exempts from its protections defined-benefit pension plans maintained not only by churches but also by organizations controlled by or affiliated with churches, even if the plans were not initially established by churches. We argued that Congress did not intend for ERISA's "church plan" exemption to reach organizations, such as multi-billion-dollar hospital chains, that provide commercially profitable secular services that were not initially provided by employees of a church. 

Case Name: Romero v. Allstate Ins. Co.

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. Pa.    Docket: 2:01-cv-03894-RB

Decided: 4/27/2017

Read Court Memo

Case Result: In litigation that spans over 15 years, the district court generally cleared Allstate of liability under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The long-running case stems from Allstate's 1990s program to convert its insurance agent-employees to independent contractors. The court found that Allstate's elimination of its employee agent force of independent contractors was done for a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason. The court also found that Allstate did not violate ERISA by amending an early retirement subsidy in its pension plan applicable to agents who later became independent contractors. 

Case Name: Santomenno v. Transamerica

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

Filed: 4/12/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Under what circumstances is an insurance service provider a fiduciary?

Case Name: Tussey v. ABB

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 8th Cir.    Docket: 15-2792

Decided: 3/9/2017

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The court remanded the case to the district court to reevaluate its method of calculating the damage award for ABB's breach of fiduciary duty.

Case Name: Market Synergy Group v. DOL

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. Kansas    Docket: 5:16-cv-04083-DDC-KGS

Decided: 2/17/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (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: Fletcher v. Convergex

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 2d Cir.   Docket: 16-734

Decided: 2/10/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The second circuit held that the plaintiffs have standing to pursue a financial loss to their defined benefit plan.

Case Name: Chamber of Commerce v. DOL and Perez

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. ND Tex.  Docket: 16-1476, 16-1530, 16-1537 consolidated

Decided: 2/9/2017

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: Tibble v. Edison International

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 9th Cir.    Docket: 10-56406, 10-56415

Decided: 12/16/2016

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: Workers will have another chance to hold Edison plan fiduciaries liable for allegedly excessive fees.

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

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

Decided: 11/4/2016

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: Whitley v. BP Oil

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 5th Cir.     Docket: 15-20282

Decided: 9/26/2016

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The fifth circuit held that, because the actions that employees alleged that BP executives could have taken - disclosing the inside information and freezing trades of BP stock - were not adequate alternatives to continuing to hold the BP stock in question after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill cuased BP's stock price to drop, the complaint should be dismissed.

ase Name: McLean v. State of California

Court: Supreme Court of California   Docket: S221554

Decided: 8/18/2016

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The court held that the statutory policy favoring prompt payment of wages applies to employees who retire, as well as those who quit for other reasons.

Case Name: Rollins v. Dignity Health

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 9th Cir.  Docket: 15-15351

Decided: 7/26/2016

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: A pension plan is not eligible for the federal pension law's exemption as a church plan unless the church (or a convention or association of churches) actually established the plan and is, thus, covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Case Name: Medina v. Catholic Health Initiatives

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 10th Cir.   Docket: 16-1005

Filed: 6/27/2016

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Does CHI's retirement plan meet the requirements for ERISA's exemption for church plans?

Case Name: Stapleton v. Advocate Healthcare Network

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 7th Cir.    Docket: 15-1368

Decided: 3/17/2016

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: A health-care company cannot treat its pension plan as a church plan exempt from ERISA's requirements because a church did not initially establish the plan.

Case Name: Gobeille v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co.

Court: U.S. Supreme Court    Docket: 14-181

Decided: 3/1/2016

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: ERISA preempts a Vermont law that requires all health care providers to report information about paid health care claims if the data are from health plans that employers offer to their employees. AARP had argued that the Court should consider such laws as state health care regulation and should use the presumption against preemption to uphold Vermont's law.

Case Name: Montanile v. Bd. of Trustees, National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan

Court: U.S. Supreme Court   Docket: 14-723

Decided: 1/20/2016

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: When an ERISA-plan participant wholly spends a third-party settlement on non-traceable items, such as food and rent, the plan fiduciary may not bring suit to attach the participant's separate assets under Section 502(a)(3) of ERISA because the plan is not seeking equitable relief under the circumstances of seeking to recover such general funds.

Case Name: Feeko v. Pfizer & Wyeth Special Transaction Severance Plan

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 3d Cir.    Docket: 14-4752

Decided: 1/6/2016

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: A divided Third Circuit held that former Pfizer workers transferred to a credit union in connection with Pfizer's acquisition of another pharmaceutical company are not entitled to severance benefit and declined to decide whether unnamed plaintiffs must exhaust administrative remedies in order to be part of a class action under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Case Name: Whitley v. BP Oil

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 5th Cir.     Docket: 15-20282

Filed: 10/28/2015

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: What must be plead in an ERISA company stock case to survive a motion to dismiss under the pleading standards established in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer?

Case Name: Byrne v. State of Montana

Court: Montana 1st Judicial Dist.   Docket: ADV-2013-738

Decided: 6/30/2015

Read Summary

Case Result: The State is permanently enjoined from cutting teachers guaranteed annual pension benefits. Court also held that teachers are contractually entitled to a 1.5% increase annually.

Case Name: Moro v. State of Oregon

Court: Supreme Court of Oregon    Docket: S061452

Decided: 4/20/2015

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result:  The Supreme Court of Orego held that the legislature was within its right to end favorable state tax treatment of pension benefits and that while retroactive changes to COLAs were invalid, prospective changes were permitted. 4/20/2015

Case Name: Gabriel v. Alaska Electrical Pension Fund

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 9th Cir.    Docket: 12-35458

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: What are appropriate equitable remedies?

Case Name: Kopp v. Klein

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 5th Cir.    Docket: 12-10416

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: In an ERISA breach of fiduciary duty suit, does the presumption of prudence as to the offering of employer stock in an eligible Individual Account Plan apply at the pleading stage?

Case Name: Leimkuehler v. American United Life Ins.

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. S. Ind.    Docket: 1:10-CV-333-JMS-TAB

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Should court award attorney's fees to prevailing defendant in suit by plan trustee for breach of fiduciary duty by plan administrator for failing to disclose receipt of revenue sharing payments from mutual funds and that its fund class selection decisions were influenced by amount of revenue sharing payable to fiduciary by fund?

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