7 Analyses of this case by attorneys

  1. Second Circuit: Amending a Plan is Not a Fiduciary Act

    Alston & Bird LLPEmily HootkinsSeptember 7, 2012

    In Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Schoonejongen, the Supreme Court declared, “Employers or other plan sponsors are generally free under ERISA, for any reason at any time, to adopt, modify, or terminate welfare plans.” 514 U.S. 73, 78 (1995). In Lockheed Corp. v. Spink, the Supreme Court extended the rule of Curtiss-Wright to pension benefit plans.

  2. Tenth Circuit Addresses ERISA Limitations Provision in Class Action Decision

    GableGotwalsRenee DeMossJuly 24, 2015

    Under ERISA, an employer is generally free to change, modify or terminate its welfare benefit plans for any reason at any time, unless the employer has contractually agreed to provide vested benefits. Fulghum, 785 F.3d at 402, citing Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Schoonajongen, 514 U.S. 73, 78 (1995). An employer creates a contractual agreement by incorporating “clear and express language” promising vested benefits into a formal written ERISA plan, which can be done through SPD documents.

  3. Take It to the Limit – The High Court Reviews When ERISA Plan Limitation of Actions Period Begins

    Sedgwick LLPJanuary 3, 2014

    The petitioner’s argument, however, failed to consider the well-settled tenet of ERISA that written plan terms must be enforced as written. See ERISA §502(a), 29 U.S.C. §1102(a); Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Schoonejongen, 514 U.S. 73, 83 (1995). The ERISA-plan language at issue provides that the limitation of actions period is “3 years after the time written proof of loss is required to be furnished according to the terms of the policy.”

  4. Take It to the Limit – The High Court Reviews When ERISA Plan Limitation of Actions Period Begins

    Sedgwick NewslettersNovember 30, 2013

    In questioning from Justice Ginsburg, the petitioner conceded that ERISA does not have a statutory limitation period for benefit claims but contended that the start date for a limitation period would be controlled by federal law, which would preempt any state law starting the limitation period at an earlier date.The petitioner’s argument, however, failed to consider the well-settled tenet of ERISA that written plan terms must be enforced as written. See ERISA §502(a), 29 U.S.C. §1102(a); Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Schoonejongen, 514 U.S. 73, 83 (1995). The ERISA-plan language at issue provides that the limitation of actions period is “3 years after the time written proof of loss is required to be furnished according to the terms of the policy.”

  5. Seventh Circuit Demonstrates The Dangers Of Not Having Sufficient Written Procedures In Place To Confirm Coverage – Money Damages Are Available For a Breach of ERISA Fiduciary Duty

    Sedgwick LLPJuly 16, 2013

    The ERISA plan language controls whether a claimant is entitled to benefits and thus, if claimants cannot prove their entitlement to benefits under the plan, they will not prevail under section 502(a)(3). See ERISA § 402, 29 U.S.C. § 1102; Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Schoonejongen, 514 U.S. 73, 83 (1995). Also, claimants previously faced the unyielding hurdle that the relief sought could not be money damages.

  6. The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - November 2012

    Proskauer Rose LLPNovember 11, 2012

    See Siskind, 47F.3d at 506. Since the time of these decisions, the Supreme Court issued a number of rulings concerning the distinction between settlor and fiduciary functions in the single‑employer setting, including:Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Schoonejongen, 514 U.S. 73 (1995), which, in connection with a welfare plan, noted that employers and plan settlors are "generally free under ERISA, for any reason at any time, to adopt, modify, or terminate welfare plans";Lockheed v. Spink, 517 U.S. 882 (1999), which extended the ruling of Curtiss-Wright to include pension plans and found that plan sponsors amending the terms of a plan "do not fall into the category of fiduciaries," and are analogous to "settlors of a trust"; andHughes Aircraft Co. v. Jacobson, 525 U.S. 432 (1999), which concluded that the holding in Lockheed applied to plans funded by both employer and employee contributions and added that "without exception" plan settlors that amend plan terms do not act as fiduciaries. Plaintiffs contended that the Second Circuit's prior pronouncements in Chambless and Siskind were still controlling since the Supreme Court had not specifically ruled on the settlor/fiduciary issue in connection with multiemployer plans.

  7. The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - November 2011

    Proskauer Rose LLPNovember 1, 2011

    While the Fourth Circuit avoided rendering an opinion on the merits, this might be reviewed by the Supreme Court.[27]Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Schoonejongen, 514 U.S. 73 (1995).[28]Mertens v. Hewitt Assoc., 508 U.S. 248 (1993).