Alert July 01, 2014

Supreme Court’s Dudenhoeffer Decision Headlines New ERISA Litigation Update

Goodwin Procter’s ERISA Litigation Practice published its latest quarterly ERISA Litigation Update.  The update discusses (1) the Supreme Court’s ruling in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer that there is no “presumption of prudence” for fiduciaries of plans that invest in employer stock; (2) Hi-Lex Controls, Inc. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, in which the Sixth Circuit ruled that that a service provider was liable as a fiduciary under ERISA for unauthorized fees it assessed against a self-funded health plan; (3) a decision by a Seventh Circuit panel in which it declined to apply ERISA’s three-year statute of limitations to bar fiduciary claims in a case arising out of a buy-out transaction involving an employee stock ownership plan; (4) a decision by the Second Circuit in which it affirmed dismissal of claims alleging the imprudent investment of plan assets in employer stock on the grounds that a company’s decision to make contributions to a plan in its stock, as opposed to cash, is not subject to ERISA fiduciary requirements; and (5) a decision by a Ninth Circuit panel recognizing that reformation, equitable estoppel and surcharge were among the “appropriate equitable relief” potentially available under Section 502(a)(3) of ERISA, although the majority held that none was available to the plaintiff under the facts of the case.