Archives: Supreme Court

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What Does the Supreme Court’s Spokeo Decision Mean in the ERISA Litigation Context?

ERISA practitioners should be aware of the extent to which the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins may touch on ERISA claims and defenses. In Spokeo, decided 6 to 2 last month, the Supreme Court addressed the issue of constitutional standing under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), and our FCRA … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Decides Not to Decide on Latest Challenge to ACA Contraceptive Coverage

The Supreme Court in a unanimous opinion remanded Zubik v. Burwell — and the six cases consolidated with Zubik — back to the Courts of Appeals to rule on the contraceptive opt-out notice provisions.  The Court directed the lower courts to consider the new information presented in the parties’ post-oral argument briefs ordered by the … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Looks for ACA Contraceptive Coverage Compromise for Religious Nonprofits

Less than one week after hearing oral arguments on seven consolidated cases in which non-profit organizations challenged the opt-out process for religious organizations opposing the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage mandate, the United States Supreme Court took the unusual action of ordering the lawyers on both sides to brief additional issues. The Court’s Order asked … Continue Reading

SUPREME COURT REBUKES NINTH CIRCUIT’S DISREGARD OF PRUDENCE PRECEDENT FOR EMPLOYEE STOCK OWNERSHIP PLANS

For the second time in Amgen Inc. v. Harris, the Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit because of its failure to apply the proper pleading standard for claims alleging breach of the duty of prudence against fiduciaries who manage employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). The Supreme Court’s opinion sets forth a specific, stringent pleading standard … Continue Reading

Supreme Court: ERISA Plan Cannot Recover Settlement Funds That Have Been Spent

The U.S. Supreme Court has narrowed, ever so slightly, the ever-changing definition of “appropriate equitable relief” under ERISA Section 502(a)(3). In Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan,[1] the high court addressed whether a plan fiduciary can recover medical payments made on behalf of a participant when the plan … Continue Reading

The Obergefell Effect: Applying the SCOTUS Decision to Qualified Retirement and Health and Welfare Plans

On December 9, 2015, the IRS issued Notice 2015-87 [link below], which provides guidance on the application of the recent United States Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) decision in Obergefell v. Hodges [link below] to qualified retirement and health and welfare plans. Prior to the 2013 SCOTUS decision in United States v. Windsor [link below], Section 3 of the … Continue Reading

The Supreme Court Takes Up Another ERISA Remedies Case

Today the Supreme Court entertained oral argument on yet another ERISA remedies case. In Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the Nat’l Elevator Indus. Health Benefit Plan, No. 14-723, the Court will again attempt to apply the phrase “appropriate equitable relief” to a plan’s claim for reimbursement of medical benefits. The scenario is a familiar … Continue Reading

What the Supreme Court’s Decision on Affordable Care Act Subsidies Means for Employers

The Internal Revenue Service was authorized to issue regulations extending health insurance subsidies to coverage purchased through health insurance exchanges run by the federal government or a state, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in a 6-3 decision. King v. Burwell, No. 14-114 (June 25, 2015). This means employers cannot avoid employer shared responsibility penalties … Continue Reading

A Look Ahead to The Supreme Court’s 2015-16 Term

As the Supreme Court winds down its 2014-15 term, the Benefits Law Advisor looks ahead to the ERISA cases and issues the Supreme Court may confront in its next terms. The Supreme Court’s recent ERISA jurisprudence has touched on issues such as remedies (CIGNA Corp. v. Amara and US Airways v. McCutchen), retiree entitlement to … Continue Reading

401(k) Plan Investment Committee Best Practices After Tibble v. Edison

On May 18, 2015, the United States Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, held that an ERISA fiduciary responsible for the selection of ERISA plan investment choices has an ongoing duty to monitor such choices. As discussed in greater detail in our May 18th Benefits Law Advisor post, Tibble v. Edison International, No. 13-550 (U.S. … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court’s Rejection of Moench Presumption: Fifth Third Bancorp. vs. Dudenhoeffer

Background Fifth Third Bancorp (the “Company”) is a public company which maintained a 401(k) plan containing an employee stock ownership plan (“ESOP”) component. The Company matched employee contributions by contributing employer stock to the ESOP, which invested its funds primarily in Company stock.  When the Company’s stock value fell, former employees and ESOP participants filed … Continue Reading

Dueling Decisions in the 4th and D.C. Circuit Courts of Appeals Spell More ACA Uncertainty for Employers

Just as employers are gearing up to prepare for compliance with the Shared Responsibility rules under the ACA, a pair of decisions from two federal appeals courts has thrown a curve ball into what was already a complicated assessment of risk for employers and raised new questions. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District … Continue Reading

SUPREME COURT RULES THAT ACA’S CONTRACEPTIVE MANDATE VIOLATES RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

Last week the Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., et al., that closely held corporations cannot be required to provide contraceptive coverage as mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because the requirement violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA).  At issue in the case were regulations promulgated … Continue Reading
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