Williams v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., No. 20-1694, __ F.4th __, 2021 WL 3729660 (8th Cir. Aug. 24, 2021) (Before Circuit Judges Smith, Arnold, and Stras).

Ever since the Supreme Court’s 1989 decision in Firestone Tire & Rubber v. Bruch, ERISA-governed benefit plans and their insurers have sought to grant themselves discretionary authority in order to ensure a favorable standard of review in court.

Continue Reading Eighth Circuit Rules Maine’s Anti-Discretion Law Does Not Apply to Accident Policies

Mayer v. Ringler Assocs. Inc., No. 20-1281, __, F.4th __, 2021 WL 3556473 (2d Cir. Aug. 12, 2021) (Before Circuit Judges Walker, Sack, and Menashi).

This week’s notable decision demonstrates the uphill battle ERISA claimants face in litigation with insurers over their employee benefits, particularly where courts apply the highly deferential abuse of discretion standard. Here, because the court concluded that California’s ban on discretion was inapplicable to the claim of a New York resident, and the claim was governed by the old ERISA claims regulations of pre-January 2017, plaintiff’s defeat was assured. 
Continue Reading What a Difference Discretion Makes