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Did Detroit Edison Mislead Retirees about Benefits?

Did Detroit Edison Mislead Retirees about Benefits? April 13, 2021. By Anne Wallace.
Cincinnati, OH  On March 23, the Sixth Circuit revived an ERISA lawsuit that alleges that Detroit Edison Co. misled plan participants about the benefits they could expect at retirement when the plan design was changed in 2002. The Appeals Court’s decision in Nolan v. Detroit Edison Co. gives the participants a fresh opportunity to show that the disclosure to participants about the plan’s conversion to a cash balance plan failed to meet basic ERISA requirements. Nolan seeks class action status.
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Insurer May Renew Defense in Tangled ESOP Lawsuit

Insurer May Renew Defense in Tangled ESOP Lawsuit April 2, 2021. By Anne Wallace.
Detroit, MI On March 4, The District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan held that Great American Fidelity Insurance Co. (Great American) could renew its argument that it should not be required to defend Stout Risius Ross (Stout) against a claim by Appvion Retirement Savings and Employee Stock Ownership Plan (Appvion ESOP). Great American Fidelity Insurance Co. v. Stout Risius Ross Inc., an insurance contract claim, is one piece of the fallout from the sprawling ERISA lawsuit that includes Appvion v. Buth. The facts are complicated.
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Federal Court Okays Class Action Status for 401k Mismanagement Lawsuit

Federal Court Okays Class Action Status for 401k Mismanagement Lawsuit March 15, 2021. By Anne Wallace.
Philadelphia, PA On March 8, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted class action status to plaintiffs in Boley v. Universal Health Services. The ERISA lawsuit claims that fiduciaries of the Universal Health Services Inc. Retirement Savings Plan mismanaged the 401k plan in violation of ERISA.
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Northern District of Illinois Nixes Mandatory Arbitration in ERISA Lawsuit

Northern District of Illinois Nixes Mandatory Arbitration in ERISA Lawsuit February 8, 2021. By Anne Wallace.
Chicago, IL On January 25, the Northern District of Illinois denied Triad Manufacturing’s attempt to force ESOP participants to individually arbitrate their claims of fiduciary self-dealing. The ERISA lawsuit, James Smith v. Board of Directors of Triad Manufacturing Inc., alleged that the Board of Directors caused the plan to buy Triad stock at an inflated price, harming retirement savers for the benefit of individual board members who were also, not coincidentally, the sellers of the stock. The Court held that plan participants may now continue to the merits of their fiduciary breach lawsuit on a class-wide basis.
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Motion Picture Industry ERISA Plan under the Bright, Hot Lights

Motion Picture Industry ERISA Plan under the Bright, Hot Lights January 18, 2021. By Anne Wallace.
Los Angeles, CA  On October 7, Patricia Klawonn filed an ERISA lawsuit against the Board of Directors for the Motion Picture Industry Pension Plans in the District Court for the Central District of California. The lawsuit alleges that The Board breached its fiduciary duty under ERISA, citing as evidence “abysmal returns [that] are the product of a fundamentally flawed investment strategy.” The Board has moved to dismiss the lawsuit, citing fundamental flaws, including a statute of limitations problem.
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SAG-AFTRA Health Plan Dumps Oldest Participants

SAG-AFTRA Health Plan Dumps Oldest Participants January 8, 2021. By Anne Wallace.
Los Angeles, CA On December 1, 91-year-old actor Ed Asner and nine other participants in the Screen Actors Guild-Producers Health Plan filed a class action ERISA lawsuit against the SAG-AFTRA Health Fund and Trustees of the Plan. The early coverage of the lawsuit focuses on what appears to be age discrimination against veteran actors, many of whom sacrificed television residuals for pre-1960 movies to fund the health plan at its outset.
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“Abysmal” or “Too Conservative”? Supermarket ERISA Lawsuit to Settle for $17.5 Million

“Abysmal” or “Too Conservative”? Supermarket ERISA Lawsuit to Settle for $17.5 Million December 14, 2020. By Anne Wallace.
Boston, MA  Toomey v. DeMoulas Super Markets, Inc., a class action ERISA lawsuit filed in the Massachusetts District Court in 2019, will settle for $17.5 million and prospective changes to the plan’s investment strategy, pending the court’s final approval in April 2021. While ERISA industry advisors have characterized the DeMoulas (Restated) Profit Sharing Plan and Trust’s investment management style as “too conservative,” the Complaint is far more brutal. It describes the performance of the investment fund as “abysmal.”
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Lubbock National Bank to Settle ERISA Lawsuit for $2 Million

Lubbock National Bank to Settle ERISA Lawsuit for $2 Million November 5, 2020. By Anne Wallace.
Raleigh, NC The Eastern District of North Carolina seems poised to approve a $2 million settlement that will end an ERISA lawsuit against Lubbock National Bank as trustee of the TBM Consulting Group, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan. It’s an unfortunately familiar story of a major shareholder/officer who unloads overpriced company stock on employees through an ESOP and then moves on.
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Court Greenlights Class Action Status for Home Depot 401k ERISA Lawsuit

Court Greenlights Class Action Status for Home Depot 401k ERISA Lawsuit October 22, 2020. By Anne Wallace.
Atlanta, GA On September 21, the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia ruled that an ERISA lawsuit brought by participants in the Home Depot FutureBuilder 401(k) Plan against plan fiduciaries could proceed as a class action lawsuit. Pizarro v. The Home Depot is particularly notable for the number of participant who may be affected – now estimated to top 300,000.
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OSF Church Plan Participants Settle for “ERISA Lite”

OSF Church Plan Participants Settle for “ERISA Lite” October 11, 2020. By Anne Wallace.
Benton, IL Participants in the OSF Plans have agreed to settle an ERISA lawsuit, against OSF Healthcare System and related parties, which challenged the plan’s status a church plan. The settlement will require OSF to contribute $25 million over 5 years to the plans, and to provide participants with documents disclosing plan provisions and changes. In addition, participants will be permitted to request twice-yearly statements of their expected benefits.
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