Pleading Issues and Procedure

Hughes v. Northwestern University, No. 19-1401, __ S. Ct. __, 2022 WL 199351 (U.S. Jan. 24, 2022)

The plaintiffs in this investment fee class action against Northwestern University scored a major victory on Monday in the Supreme Court. The Seventh Circuit had affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the case on the pleadings, holding that fiduciaries acted prudently with respect Northwestern’s 403(b) retirement plan because they offered the participants in the plan some prudent investment options with reasonable fees alongside allegedly imprudent investments. As regular readers may remember, in our coverage of the oral argument in this case in December, we predicted that the Justices were inclined to reverse the Seventh Circuit. And that, and no more, is what the Court did.
Continue Reading The Supreme Court Reverses the Seventh Circuit and Sends Northwestern Back to School

Card v. Principal Life Ins. Co., No. 20-6217, __ F.4th __, 2021 WL 5074692 (6th Cir. Nov. 2, 2021) (Before Circuit Judges McKeague, Nalbandian, and Murphy).

In ERISA benefit cases, a trial court will sometimes “remand” the case back to the plan’s claim administrator for further action, especially when the administrator applied the wrong standard or failed to follow claim procedures. But what happens when an appellate court remands a case to an administrator? Is there anything the trial court can do to oversee that remand, or does the appellate ruling keep it out of the loop? What is a “remand” in an ERISA case anyway, when the administrator is not part of the judicial system?
Continue Reading Sixth Circuit Clarifies District Courts’ Power to Supervise Remands to Plan Administrators