On Friday, September 8, 2017, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit reversed U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo's summary judgment award to United Parcel Service of America Inc. ("UPS") and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois ("BCBS") (collectively, the "Defendants"), which held that Defendants were not in violation of the Affordable Care Act ("ACA") or the Public Health Service Act ("PHSA") in capping Gary King's ("Plaintiff") lifetime health insurance coverage benefits, and that they did not violate the disclosure requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") in their informing plan participants about the cap.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero recently certified a group of UnitedHealth Group Inc. ("UnitedHealth" or the "Company") health plan participants alleging that the Company is improperly denying mental health and substance abuse treatments, in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The lack of coverage was common among a large number of participants, which allowed for class certification.
Between mid-2007 and early 2011, SunTrust Banks ("SunTrust" or the "Company") was accused of improperly handling its employees' 401(k) plan by purchasing its own common stock with the employees' retirement funds. Given the large stake in the subprime housing market (one of the main contributors to the Great Recession), SunTrust's employees filed a lawsuit in mid-2008, alleging that the Company's actions were imprudent and that it breached its Employment Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") fiduciary duties, which require SunTrust to act solely in the interests of the 401(k) plan members. The employees further claimed that SunTrust breached its fiduciary duties by failing to disclose how it was using the employees' retirement savings.
In 2007, a lawsuit was filed against energy giant Edison International, alleging that the company violated the Employees Retirement Income Securities Act of 1974 (ERISA) by offering employees higher-priced retail class mutual funds as retirement plan investments when what were basically the same funds could be had under lower-cost institutional shares. The class action against Edison was brought on behalf of about 20,000 employees and retirees.
The Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, commonly called ERISA, is a federal law that establishes standards for protecting the retirement funds of millions of Americans who work in private industry. There is no requirement under ERISA that employers must provide a pension plan, but employers who do establish retirement plans -- a 401(k), for example -- must the meet the minimum standards under the law.