Tag Archives: ERISA

Financial Conflict of Interest in the Eighth Circuit: Trigger of a Less Deferential Standard of Review or Mere Factor in Determining Plan Administrator Abuse of Discretion?

It is well-established under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) that when an employee benefit plan grants the plan administrator discretion to decide questions of eligibility for benefits or to construe plan terms, judicial review of the plan administrator’s denial of benefits is generally limited to the deferential abuse of discretion standard … Continue Reading

IRS Reduces HSA Contribution Amount for Current Year

In 2017, the IRS released the 2018 inflation-adjusted figures for contributions to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).  The contribution limits for HSAs associated with High Deductible Health Plans was increased to $3,450 for individuals with self-only coverage and to $6,900 for individuals with family coverage.  In December, the President signed the tax reform bill commonly known … Continue Reading

Tenth Circuit Follows Majority of the Circuit Courts and Holds Plaintiff Bears the Burden of Proving Causation in ERISA Breach of Fiduciary Duty Cases

On June 5, 2017, in Pioneer Centres Holding Co. Employee Stock Ownership Plan & Trust v. Alerus Fin., N.A., Case No. 15-1227, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that the plaintiff bears the burden on each element of its breach of fiduciary duty claim under ERISA. Plaintiff brought suit for breach … Continue Reading

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

“Off the Rails:” A Plan Administrator’s Burden

When an ERISA plan provides the plan administrator with discretion to interpret the terms of the plan, the administrator’s claims and appeals decisions are generally reviewed by courts under a lenient standard of review such as “abuse of discretion.” In such cases, courts generally will not upset the plan administrator’s decision absent a clear error. … Continue Reading

SEVERANCE, ERISA and RUM PUNCH

ERISA provisions are like fruity rum drinks. A little inattention and they can sneak up on you with most unpleasant consequences.   No place is this more true than with severance pay.  Many employers still believe that if they make just a single payment to a departing employee, they have not created a plan subject to … Continue Reading

ERISA Claims Procedures For Disability Benefits To Get An ACA Make Over

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) of the Federal Department of Labor plans to publish on November 18, 2015, new claims procedures for adjudicating disability benefits designed to enhance existing procedures for those benefits under Section 503 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). EBSA’s goal is to apply to disability benefits many of … Continue Reading

When a Deferred Compensation Plan Qualifies for “Top-Hat” Plan Status under ERISA

In a recent decision, Tolbert v. RBC Capital Markets Corp., _________ (S.D. Texas April 28, 2015), the district court wrestled with the question of how to determine whether a deferred compensation plan was a “top-hat” plan exempt from many of the substantive requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”). The Fifth Circuit previously … Continue Reading

DOL Provides Guidance on ERISA Fee Recapture Accounts

In Advisory Opinion 2013-03A (http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/AOs/ao2013-03a.html), the Department of Labor addresses what are commonly referred to as ERISA “budget accounts” or “fee recapture accounts.” In the Advisory Opinion, the DOL describes these accounts and discusses the plan asset and prohibited transaction issues related to them. What is an ERISA Account? ERISA accounts are accounts that contain … Continue Reading

DOL to Revisit Rules for Delivering Summary Plan Descriptions and Other ERISA Documents

The Department of Labor (DOL) announced it is reviewing the use of electronic media by employee benefit plans subject to ERISA to furnish information to participants and beneficiaries, following and in response to Executive Order 13563 issued by President Obama to address and improve current regulations. If you have concerns about the current process, now is … Continue Reading
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