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Sixth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Class Claims Regarding Disability Benefits

ERISA benefit claims are frequently of only modest size individually, but can become overwhelming in a class context.  A decision this week from the Sixth Circuit affirms the dismissal of a putative class-wide disability claim under a company pension plan.  The case is noteworthy because the court addressed the merits of the plaintiff’s individual claim … Continue Reading

Florida District Court Rejects ERISA Claims Premised on Alleged FLSA Violations

Plaintiffs in most class and collective actions try to plead their claims in such a way as to exert the maximum pressure against the employer.  In some instances, that raises the issue of whether the plaintiff should assert one, clear claim or several.  Having only one claim places the issues more starkly, but oftentimes plaintiffs … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment For Employer In Retiree Health Care Class Action

We’ve commented in this blog before about the Sixth Circuit’s holdings regarding retiree healthcare under collective bargaining agreements.  Starting with the case of UAW v. Yard-Man, Inc., 716 F.2d 1476 (6th Cir. 1983), the Sixth Circuit began to apply an “inference” that collectively bargained retire welfare benefits, primarily paid health insurance, would “vest” and would … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Permits “Reasonable” Changes To Welfare Benefits Under Yard-Man

In 46 states within the U.S., a collective bargaining agreement, and the obligations it contains, expires on its expiration date.  Thus, the parties must come to agreement as to the new terms at relatively regular intervals, taking into account market forces, changes in their relative bargaining positions, and their respective interests.   However, in 1983, the … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Expands ERISA Equitable Remedies

Authorship credit: Paul S. Enockson Editor’s Note: This post is a joint submission to Baker Hostetler’s Class Action Lawsuit Defense blog.   ERISA class action litigation differs in important respects from many other types of employment class actions, in part because of its unique remedial provisions and continuing issues involving the scope of recovery.   … Continue Reading

ERISA Class Actions Still Being Certified Post-Dukes

Authorship credit: Paul S. Enockson ERISA class certification motions routinely cite cases for the proposition that ERISA cases are the paradigmatic example of cases that are appropriate for class certification.  The United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio’s recent decision in Adams v. Anheuser-Busch Companies, Case No. 2:10-cv-826, provides continuing support for … Continue Reading

Plaintiffs Swallow Bitter Pill With Dismissal of Class Breach of ERISA Fiduciary Duty Claim for Alleged Wage and Hour Violations

The case of DeSilva v. North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Inc., Case No. 10-CV-1341-JFB-ETB (E.D.N.Y. March 7, 2012), began small, like a lone cough one winter’s morning, before escalating into a full-blown cold, complete with hacking and wheezing.  At first there were six plaintiffs working as nurses.  After two amended complaints, however, the purported … Continue Reading

Court Applies Kentucky’s 15-Year Statute of Limitations for ERISA Class Action Claims To Recover Benefits Due Under Terms of Plan

At present, most employment class actions relate to wage and hour issues, but there are still many (and frequently hugely expensive) ERISA class actions challenging a host of benefits issues. A recent case underscores that the threat of ERISA class action litigation can be exacerbated by a very long statute of limitations. ERISA does not … Continue Reading

The Western District of Texas Shows Some True Grit By Refusing To Grant Conditional Certification

In this day and age, finding a court to deny conditional certification of a proposed FLSA class is sometimes about as difficult as successfully remaking a classic Hollywood western with modern actors and sensibilities.  But, just as the Coen Brothers’ True Grit continues to surprise audiences and critics alike as one of the finest remakes … Continue Reading

Court Grants Summary Judgment in Multidistrict Independent Contractor Cases

We’ve written at least three times now on the case of Dukes v. Wal-Mart, now pending before the United States Supreme Court, as it is the largest employment class action in history.  Perhaps a relatively distant second is the collection of cases against FedEx Ground Package System, currently being handled through the multidistrict litigation docket in Northern Indiana.  … Continue Reading

Class Decertified in Case of Former Sales Representatives Asserting ERISA Claims

A federal court in New York decertified a class former sales representatives who claimed that Defendant Linvatec Corp. violated ERISA when it denied severance benefits after the division where the representatives worked was outsourced. Thompson v. Linvatec Corp., No. 6:06-CV-00404 (N.D.N.Y. 6/22/2010). After reviewing the plan documents, the court narrowed the original class definition of … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Holds Class Members’ ERISA Claims Accrued When They Knew Their Benefits Changed

The Sixth Circuit recently reversed an injunction that required Caterpillar to pay lifetime health care costs to a subclass of 275 former employees upon finding the subclass members’ ERISA claims were time-barred.  Winnett v. Caterpillar, Inc., No. 06-00235 (6th Cir. 6/22/2010). The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit on March 28, 2006 and claimed Caterpillar breached a … Continue Reading
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