Hursh v. DST Systems, Inc., No. 4:21-mc-09017, 2021 WL 4526849 (W.D. Mo. Oct. 4, 2021) (Judge Nanette K. Laughrey).

It is no secret that employers like arbitration provisions, and ERISA case law generally allows them to include such provisions in their employee benefit plans. However, this case is an object lesson in being careful what you ask for – because you just might get it.

Continue Reading Be Careful What You Wish For: Employer Can’t Escape Hundreds of Arbitration Awards

Smith v. Board of Directors of Triad Mfg., Inc., No. 20-2708, __ F.4th __, 2021 WL 4129456 (7th Cir. Sept. 10, 2021) (Before Circuit Judges Kanne, Brennan, and Scudder).

Arbitration is a hot issue in ERISA. Can claims for relief under ERISA be forced into arbitration, and if so, when? In this case the Seventh Circuit has good news and bad news for litigants on both sides.

The case is a putative class action brought by James Smith, an employee of Triad Manufacturing, Inc., alleging that in 2015 Triad and related defendants mismanaged Triad’s ERISA-governed employee stock ownership plan. Specifically, Smith alleged that three members of the board of directors created the plan and sold all of Triad’s stock to the plan, which then plummeted in value. The directors, however, profited from the transaction by providing loans to the plan that required repayment, regardless of Triad’s financial situation. In 2018, defendants amended the plan to include an arbitration provision with a class action waiver that prohibited claimants from seeking a remedy “which has the purpose or effect of providing additional benefits or monetary or other relief to any Eligible Employee, Participant or Beneficiary other than the Claimant.”
Continue Reading Arbitration Provision That Prevents Plan-Wide Relief Unenforceable

There is an embarrassment of riches this week for plan participants, as three cases share the notable decision spotlight.  Two are significant plaintiff wins with respect to mental health coverage under ERISA healthcare plans. The third is an important arbitration decision from the Second Circuit involving a pension plan, also a big win for plan participants.
Continue Reading Three Wins for Participants