SCOTUS Docket Rich with ERISA Cases

July 30, 2019

The Supreme Court's upcoming term is rich with ERISA cases, having already granted hearings on two cases and considering hearing two more. The first case, Intel Corp. Investment Policy Committee v. Sulyma, is a class action where the Court will decide what it means for beneficiaries to have "actual knowledge" of a breach of fiduciary duty. This is critical as "actual knowledge" triggers the clock on the three-year statute of limitation to file a claim. The second case that will be heard by the Supreme Court is Retirement Plans Committee of IBM v. Jander, a "stock drop" case where beneficiaries claim that fiduciaries breached their duty by failing to take corrective action after company stock, an employee investment option, fell in price. The Court will consider how specific the beneficiaries' allegations in the complaint must be to be sufficient.

 

The Supreme Court has asked for input from the Solicitor General in two additional cases, suggesting that the Court may be interested in hearing these cases. The first, Thole v. U.S. Bank, concerns whether a pension participant has standing to bring a claim of breach of fiduciary duty, even if he or she did not experience any actual loss due to the breach because the plan was overfunded. The second, Putnam Investments, LLC v. Brotherston, considers whether the responsibility is on the beneficiary or the fiduciary to prove or disprove whether the breach of fiduciary duty actually resulted in losses to the plan.

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