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Articles Posted in ERISA Disability

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Recently, the Boston Children’s Hospital asked a judge in federal court to dismiss a case brought by former employees that alleged the charging of “exorbitant” fees relating to the management of ERISA retirement plans. The Hospital argues that fees associated with the plans were not exorbitant and no damage was sustained by plan members under the class, thus the case against them should be dismissed. The Hospital additionally argues that there was no requirement for them to pick the lowest possible costs for administration of their ERISA plans. Further, they argue that the plaintiffs in the class at issue were not deeply invested in the plans that are involved.

The Plaintiffs (former employees of the Hospital) in the class allege that the Hospital’s fiduciary duties under ERISA were breached when they overcharged participants for fees relating to recordkeeping. Further, the Plaintiffs allege that the Hospital encouraged participants to invest in funds that were more expensive than others and underperformed compared to their counterparts. The case was originally brought by four former employees of the Hospital, with the class now encompassing compensation for 18,580 employees. The Plaintiffs state that while participants in similar plans were required to pay between $23 to $42 per year in recordkeeping fees, participants in the Hospital’s plans at issue paid $73. The large size of the plan, according to the Plaintiffs, would have enabled them to negotiate for lower fees if the Hospital had been proactive about ensuring the performance of their duties to the participants.

The Hospital counters in their motion to dismiss that, “ERISA does not require Children’s to select the least expensive or best performing investment, and Plaintiff’s cannot plausibly allege a breach merely by pointing to alternative target date funds that have some similarities and that purportedly cost a bit less or performed a bit better.” Further, the Hospital alleges that the Plaintiffs are essentially attempting to make arguments that are directly opposed, stating that there are no comparable plans that are both less expensive and perform better than that those at issue in the case. Regarding the plans exemplified by the Plaintiffs as less expensive, the Hospital states that the cheaper plans did not perform as well as those chosen by the Defendant. The plans argued by the Plaintiffs to be comparable also had different payment structures and provided different services to participants, according to the Hospital.

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Attorney Elizabeth Thornsbury received a favorable Order in federal court against The Prudential Insurance Company of America in an ERISA case on September 4, 2019.  The judge granted Plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery stating that:

“Aliff may conduct some discovery to enable the Court to determine whether such conflict affected Prudential’s benefit decisions.”

Prudential had previously only answered part of Aliff’s discovery requests claiming that she was not entitled to all of the information requested. However, the judge continued to explain that:

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Elizabeth Thornsbury, one of the firm’s attorneys experienced in short- and long-term disability claims, received an Order in federal court against Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company on June 12, 2019. Judge Caldwell found that “Reliance Standard acted arbitrarily and capriciously in denying Asher’s appeal…” and that “the final denial decision was not the result of a ‘deliberate principled reasoning process.’”  The case was remanded to Reliance Standard to give our client’s claim “a full and fair review.”

Click here for a copy of the Order.

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You need to know what are the common mistakes to watch out for in order to increase your chance of getting ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) long-term disability benefits.

Did you know that you may be eligible to claim long-term disability benefits under ERISA should you be unable to work because of sudden disability? You may actually also enjoy these benefits under an employer-sponsored group insurance plan. However, how you apply for the benefits is critical to get the best possible outcome. You cannot discount that the process in ERISA long-term disability benefits application is fraught with challenges and a simple oversight can adversely affect your chance to get the benefits. As such, it helps to know what to watch out. Even better, consulting an ERISA lawyer in Kentucky will be advantageous to you do not waste any time understanding the complicated process of ERISA benefits.

Avoid These ERISA Disability Missteps

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Simplified Employee Pension Plans (SEP) – A plan in which the employer makes contributions on a tax-favored basis to individual retirement accounts (IRAs) owned by the employees. If certain conditions are met, the employer is not subject to the reporting and disclosure requirements of most retirement plans. Under a SEP, an IRA is set up by or for an employee to accept the employer’s contributions.

Is it possible to sue under ERISA?

Yes, you have a right to sue your plan and its fiduciaries to enforce or clarify your rights under ERISA and your plan in the following situations:

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Our experienced ERISA Disability Lawyers in Kentucky will help you answer questions to your ERISA Disability needs.

1. THE BASICS

A federal law known as ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) is a complicated and comprehensive law that sets minimum standards for retirement and welfare benefit plans in private industry. ERISA does the following:

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