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In Ortiz v. Am. Airlines, Inc., No. 20-10817, __F.4th__, 2021 WL 3030550 (5th Cir. July 19, 2021), Plaintiffs-Appellants Salvadora Ortiz and Thomas Scott sued Defendants-Appellees American Airlines, Inc. (“AA”); American Airlines Pension Asset Administration Committee (the “PAAC”); and American Airlines Federal Credit Union (“FCU”) alleging that they breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA related to AA’s “$uper $aver” 401(k) plan (“Plan”). The PAAC was a fiduciary responsible for selecting investment options for the Plan.…
In Cho v. First Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, No. 20-55314, __F.App’x__, 2021 WL 2885855 (9th Cir. July 9, 2021), First Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company (“First Reliance”) appealed the district court’s order awarding Plaintiff-Appellee Soohyun Cho the full amount of her dependent spouse’s life insurance policy and the district court’s dismissal of its third-party complaint against Giorgio Armani Corporation (“Armani”). The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment. First, though the life insurance…
In Holden v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 20-6318, __F.App’x__, 2021 WL 2836624 (6th Cir. July 8, 2021), the Sixth Circuit affirmed Unum Life Insurance Company’s decision to deny Plaintiff-Appellant Lisa Holden’s claim for long-term disability benefits on the basis that her inability to work was specific to conditions at her employer, Williams & Connolly, and she did not demonstrate she was precluded from performing the job “as it is normally performed…
In Cent. Illinois Pipe Trades Health & Welfare Fund v. Prather Plumbing & Heating, Inc., No. 20-2525, __F.4th __, 2021 WL 2819035 (7th Cir. July 7, 2021), the Seventh Circuit held that an ERISA fund has no federal cause of action where it seeks to impose successor liability to collect on a judgment where the successor company has itself not violated ERISA. Here, Robert Prather formed Prather Plumbing and hired his three sons. The…
In Loc. 705 Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters Pension Fund v. Pitello, No. 20-2142, __F.4th__, 2021 WL 2818326 (7th Cir. July 7, 2021), a dispute over unpaid withdrawal liability, the Plaintiff Pension Fund sued Gradei’s Express Company, the Pitellos (Gradei’s owners), and another corporation owned by the Pitellos, GX Warehousing, on the theory that they were trades or businesses under common control. The district court found there was enough to establish common control on the…
We are pleased to announce that attorney Michelle L. Roberts has again been selected by Northern California Super Lawyers to be on its Top 100 Northern California and Top 50 Women Super Lawyers Lists. Super Lawyers has recognized Michelle on these lists each year since 2018. She has been recognized as a Super Lawyer in the area of Employee Benefits since 2015. Prior to that, Super Lawyers recognized Michelle as a “Rising Star” from 2012…
In Advanced Physicians, S.C. v. National Football League, No. 20-10998, __F.App’x__, 2021 WL 2773112 (5th Cir. July 1, 2021), the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s (N.D. Tex) dismissal of Advanced Physician’s (“Advanced”) state-law tortious-interference claim against the National Football League (“NFL”) based on ERISA preemption. Advanced claimed that the NFL instructed the NFL Player Insurance Plan’s insurance company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (“Cigna”), to deny health claims for NFL players treated…
What happens when an employee becomes disabled during a period when his employer switches long-term disability carriers and both carriers disclaim coverage? In Talamantes v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., No. 20-50953, __F.4th__, 2021 WL 2660251 (5th Cir. June 29, 2021), Plaintiff-Appellant Enrique Talamantes found himself in that scenario. Talamantes worked for Becton, Dickinson and Company (“BD”) as a Product Development Engineer when he became disabled due to trigeminal neuralgia and underwent microvascular decompression surgery.…
In Clark v. Certainteed Salaried Pension Plan, et al., No. 20-30059, __F.App’x__, 2021 WL 2620557 (5th Cir. June 24, 2021), Plaintiff-Appellant Terry Clark sought retirement benefits under the Saint-Gobain Retirement Income Plan (SGRI Plan), an ERISA-qualified plan that provides retirement benefits for employees of the Saint-Gobain Corporation and affiliated entities. A sub-plan to the SGRI Plan is the CertainTeed Corporation Salaried Employee’s Pension Plan (CertainTeed Plan), which is generally limited to employees of CertainTeed…
In Peters v. Aetna Inc., No. 19-2085, __F.3d__, 2021 WL 2546412 (4th Cir. June 22, 2021), a putative class action, the Fourth Circuit revived ERISA breach of fiduciary duty and prohibited transaction claims against Aetna Life Insurance Company (“Aetna”) and Optumhealth Care Solutions, Inc. (“Optum”) (collectively, “Appellees”) as it relates to their subcontractor fee agreement for providing in-network services for Aetna insureds. The Fourth Circuit also determined that the district court “too rigidly” analyzed…