Seyfarth Shaw LLP

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By Mark Casciari and Kristine Argentine Synopsis : Many parties to ERISA litigation and arbitration pay lip service to the burden of proof, put on their respective cases and leave it to the trier of fact to decide which side deserves the victory.   Burdens of proof have become increasingly important, however, as procedural and substantive issues become more complex, and judges often have less time to deal with the subtleties in ERISA litigation. Burdens of…
Seyfarth synopsis: The Second Circuit reversed dismissal of an ERISA stock drop class action finding plaintiff alleged enough to plausibly show that disclosure of alleged corporate problems would not have done more harm than good and sketching a treasure map for ERISA plaintiffs seeking to recover for 401(k) plan losses. By Ian H. Morrison and Michael W. Stevens Many thought ERISA stock drop claims were doomed by the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Fifth Third…
Seyfarth Synopsis: Please join us at our Chicago Willis Tower office on Thursday, December 6th, for breakfast along with a Seyfarth Legal Forum and Continuing Legal Education (CLE): 2018 Highlights and a Look Ahead to 2019. About the Program Providing our clients with a multidisciplinary overview of Legal Hot Button issues and Best Practice:  Featuring: Biometric Information Privacy Act: What a long, strange year it’s been (and there’s more on the way!) Legalize it: will…
By: Tom Horan and Sam Schwartz-Fenwick Seyfarth Synopsis: A recent case from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania reaffirms the basic principle that a threshold element of any ERISA claim is pleading the existence of an ERISA plan. In Dixon v. Washington, No. 18-cv-2838, 2018 WL 5046033 (E.D. Pa.), plaintiffs—members of the congregation of the First Baptist Church of Fairview—brought suit against the Church’s elected Pastor and CEO, and the members he selected to serve on…
Seyfarth Synopsis: Excessive fee complaint dismissed because the diverse selection of funds available to plan participants negates any claim that Defendants breached their duties of prudence simply because cheaper funds were available. By Ron Kramer and Shannon Callahan Nearly 20 universities have been sued under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) over the fees paid in their Section 403(b) qualified employee benefit defined contribution plans. Many of these actions have survived the motion to…
By: Michelle M. Scannell and Kathleen Cahill Slaught Seyfarth Synopsis: A district court recently denied a motion to dismiss a 401(k) proprietary fund class action, continuing an overwhelming trend of allowing these cases to survive pleading challenges. On the bright side, however, the Eighth Circuit recently affirmed a dismissal of such a case, and the first of these cases to be tried resulted in a defense victory, which is on appeal with the First Circuit.…
By: Mark Casciari and Jim Goodfellow Seyfarth Synopsis: The Ninth Circuit declined to enforce an agreement to arbitrate ERISA Section 502(a)(2) claims, but did not rule out enforcement in other ERISA claim contexts. In Munro v. University of Southern California, et al., No. 17-5550, 2018 WL 3542996 (9th Cir. July 24, 2018), plaintiffs sought to represent a class of participants in two ERISA-governed defined contribution plans sponsored by the University of Southern California, alleging multiple…
By, James Goodfellow and Amanda Sonneborn Seyfarth Synopsis: The Fifth Circuit adds to the growing body of case law requiring more detailed reviews of claims for life insurance or accidental death and dismemberment benefits following accidents resulting from drunk driving. In White v. LINA, No. 17-30356, __F.3d__, 2018 WL 2978641 (5th Cir. June 13, 2018), a case involving denial of life insurance benefits provided pursuant to an ERISA governed plan, the Fifth Circuit concluded that…
By: Chris Busey, Tom Horan and Sam Schwartz-Fenwick Seyfarth Synopsis: The Fourth Circuit found in favor of an insurer on a claim for life insurance benefits, finding the insured’s failure to submit the required evidence of insurability was not excused by his employer having wrongly deducted premiums for that coverage from his pay. In Gordon v. CIGNA Corp., Plaintiff sought to represent a putative class of participants and beneficiaries who were deemed ineligible for…
By Ryan Pinkston and Jon Braunstein SEYFARTH SYNOPSIS: The Ninth Circuit recently dealt another major blow to healthcare providers that attempt to bring suits as assignees of their individual patients, holding that an ERISA plan’s anti‑assignment provision bars a provider’s suit even where the plan mistakenly told the provider that no such anti‑assignment provision exists. On April 26, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit confirmed, yet again, the deference it…