Bankrupt Drug Treatment Center Argues Cigna Fee-Forgiving Out-of-Network Case Before 9th Circuit

Bristol SL Holdings Inc. (“Bristol”), a holding company and successor-in-interest for Sure Haven, a now-bankrupt drug and alcohol treatment center, recently urged a panel of the Ninth Circuit to overturn the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of insurance giant Cigna. Bristol sued Cigna in 2019, claiming that it violated the terms of its health plan when it failed to pay more than $8 million in claims Read More

Actuary Co. Reaches $4M Settlement in 401(k) Fee Class Action Suit

Insurance Services Offices Inc. (ISO), an actuarial and underwriting company, has agreed to pay $4 million to settle a proposed class action lawsuit filed by ex-employees concerning its 401(k) Savings and Employee Stock Ownership Plan. The former workers alleged that ISO charged them excessive fees and failed to monitor the plan’s investments in violation of ERISA. The case is Peterson et al. v. Insurance Services Read More

Supreme Court Considers Whether Involuntary Job Transfer Can Constitute Discrimination

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard arguments in Muldrow v. City of St. Louis. The Court’s decision in Muldrow will determine whether an involuntary job transfer can constitute illegal discrimination in some cases. The main inquiry during oral arguments focused on whether tangible harm is necessary to prove discrimination. Examples of tangible harm include less pay, less favorable hours, or a lower rank.  In Read More

Employer Involvement Rendered Disability Insurance Plan Subject to ERISA, Despite Lack of Intent

In Steigleman v. Symetra Life Ins. Co., 2023 WL 7413668 (D. Ariz. 2023), a court considered whether a package of various welfare benefit insurance policies an individual business owner arranged for herself and her employees was subject to ERISA. Ultimately, the court concluded that the business owner’s involvement in the package of insurance policies constituted an “ongoing administrative scheme” that made it subject Read More

Illinois Court Rules that Employee Data Theft May Not Be “Gross Misconduct” Precluding COBRA Coverage

In Johnson v. City of Kewanee, 2023 WL 8091963 (C.D. Ill. 2023), a married couple filed suit after the city fired them for allegedly stealing data and deleting over 55,000 files from the city computer system. The couple claimed that the city failed to provide COBRA election notices as required by law. In response, the city alleged that since the employees had committed “gross misconduct” in stealing and deleting Read More

Federal Court Dismisses Ex-Workers’ ESOP Suit Against Seafood Co.

A Georgia federal court recently dismissed an ERISA proposed class action suit filed by former Inland Fresh Seafood Corp. of America Inc. workers concerning alleged mismanagement of the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). The judge granted the motions to dismiss from Inland, its ESOP committee, a group of company executives, and the trustee of the company ESOP based on the plaintiffs’ failure to exhaust their Read More

United Behavioral Health Files Cert Petition Over Mental Health Coverage Loss

United Behavioral Health (UBH) and the Alcatel-Lucent Medical Expense Plan, an employee health plan now owned by Nokia, have filed a petition for a writ of certiorari before the U.S. Supreme Court. They are seeking to overturn a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirming Utah’s court ruling against them for failing to cover a middle school student’s inpatient mental health treatment and Read More

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Cert in ERISA Class Action Suit Against Hilton

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied Hilton Hotels’ petition for certiorari seeking review of a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that reinstated retirement plan participants’ request for class certification in an Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) case. The case is Hilton Hotels Retirement Plan et al. v. Valerie White et al., case number 23-166, U.S. Supreme Court. A panel of Read More

Sprint, Former Employees Urge Kansas Federal Court to Approve $3.5M Deal to Resolve Benefit Calculation Suit

Three former Sprint Communications employees asked a Kansas federal court to approve its multimillion-dollar proposed class action against Sprint, which the parties reached through mediation. According to the former employees, the settlement will permit them to end their suit without testing their novel legal theory while still increasing their pension benefits for life and the benefits for their Read More

5 Important ERISA Decisions Rounded Out 2023

Federal appellate courts issued various decisions involving the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in the latter half of 2023. Here are five important ERISA decisions that benefits attorneys should know. Cunningham et al. v. Cornell University et al., case number 21-88, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an opinion affirming the Read More