U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Review CA Auto-IRA Program Win

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to review a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that upheld the legality of California’s automatic retirement savings program. The case is Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association et al. v. California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program et al., case number 21-558. California created CalSavers in 2012 and required California employers with five Read More

Costco Settles COBRA Notice Language Suit for $750,000, Admits No Liability

Costco Wholesale Corp. and plaintiff John G. Baja asked a Florida federal district court to approve their $750,000 settlement in a proposed class-action lawsuit, challenging the retail giant’s allegedly deficient COBRA notices. Baja claimed that the defective notices about Costco’s continuing health care options, upon the occurrence of qualifying events, deterred him and thousands of others from choosing the Read More

Federal Agencies Respond to Federal Court Decision Invalidating Portions of IDR Regulations in No Surprises Act Concerning Out-of-Network Provider Payments

In Texas Med. Assoc. v. HHS, 2022 WL 542879 (E.D. Tex. 2022), the court upheld a challenge by health care providers to portions of the interim final regulations implementing the No Surprises Act. Congress passed the No Surprises Act in 2021 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, to apply to all plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2022. The regulations at issue are related to the independent dispute Read More

Kroger Demands Dismissal of Proposed ERISA Class Action Over Record-Keeping Fees

Kroger asked an Ohio federal court to dismiss a proposed class-action lawsuit in which workers claim that they paid excessive, unreasonable, and undisclosed annual record-keeping fees to participate in the employer’s retirement savings plan. According to Kroger, employees paid reasonable yearly fees in line with federal law and received annual fee disclosures stating the yearly expense ratios.  Kroger employee Read More

Employer’s Misleading SPD Breached Its ERISA Fiduciary Duty

Johnson v. Ballad Health, 2022 WL 214488 (E.D. Tenn. 2022) Johnson's employer automatically enrolled her in an employer-paid long-term disability plan as a benefit of her employment. Johnson also opted to enroll in the plan's employee-paid "buy-up" benefit feature. The employer's summary plan description (SPD) described the employee-paid "buy-up" benefit as “additional coverage” of 60%, while the employee’s Read More

Home Depot Says $140M ERISA Class Action Should Be Axed

The Home Depot Inc. argued that a Georgia federal district court should dismiss the pending $140 million ERISA class action as per its summary judgment motion, as a better 401(k) plan with lower fees for its employees does not exist. The Home Depot 401(k) plan is the largest of its kind, holding about $9 billion in investments for hundreds of thousands in employees.  In response, plan participants argued that they Read More

COVID-19 Test Lab Sues Plans and TPAs for Failing to Cover Cost of Tests as Per FFCRA and CARES Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Act, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act and related guidance require group health plans and insurers to cover the costs of COVID-19 diagnostic testing without cost-sharing, prior authorization, or other medical management requirements. If plans do not negotiate a rate for the testing, they must pay for the testing at the cash rate Read More

DOL, IRS, and HHS Release Joint FAQs and Process Guide on Surprise Billing Independent Dispute Resolution

The Department of Labor (DOL), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have released Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Federal Independent Dispute Resolution Process (FAQs). This new guidance relates to the No Surprises Act, which Congress enacted in 2021 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA). The three federal agencies issued Federal Read More

Employer’s Failure to Time Provide COBRA Election Notice Results in Retroactive Coverage and Penalties

In Buford v. General Motors, L.L.C., case number 4:16-CV-14465-TGB-MKM, the U.S. District Court of Michigan ruled that General Motors violated COBRA election notice requirements when it failed to timely provide an employee with a COBRA election notice upon his retirement. As a result, General Motors was subject to statutory penalties due to violating federal law.    Buford retired from General Motors on Read More

Former Goldman Sachs Workers Achieve Class Status in 401(k) Mismanagement Case

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos granted class status to tens of thousands of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ex-employees in an ERISA suit related to mismanagement of its employee 401(k) plan. In support of its motion to certify the class, Falberg also pointed to other courts which recently have certified ERISA classes of retirement plan participants suing financial services providers for unfairly promoting proprietary Read More