Judge Oldham Writes Concurring Decision Questioning the Fifth Circuit’s Deferential Standard of Review for ERISA Cases

Published by The Pellegrin Firm November 1, 2021

Judge Oldham argues that the Fifth Circuit has strayed from the Supreme Court’s instructions, and that law, logic, and history cannot square the legislative purposes of ERISA with the Fifth Circuit’s deferential review of benefit determinations (at least those in which the plan gives discretionary authority to the claim administrator).

Massachusetts Judge Finds for Insurance Company in ERISA Case After Widow Sues on Denied Accidental Death Insurance Claim

Published by The Pellegrin Firm February 15, 2021

In a recent decision, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts found for an insurer in a lawsuit brought by a widow challenging the denial of an accidental death insurance claim. The plaintiff was an employee of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, which sponsored the spousal accidental death insurance as an employee benefit.

What Must an ERISA Summary Plan Description Contain?

Published by The Pellegrin Firm October 18, 2020

According to a provision of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1024(b)(1), ERISA plan administrators must provide a summary plan description (“SPD”) to beneficiaries and the SPD must “reasonably apprise [plan] participants and beneficiaries of their rights and obligations under the plan” and must be “written in a manner calculated to be understood by the average plan participant.”

New Orleans Federal Judge Denies Motion for Summary Judgment in Disability Insurance Case, Finding Disputed Issues of Fact Exist

Published by The Pellegrin Firm September 27, 2020

In a recent ruling, U.S. District Court judge Martin Feldman of the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans denied a plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of whether the disability insurance policy he was suing on was governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”). ERISA is a federal law that governs insurance policies that are part of group plans sponsored by private employers. In most litigation, the standard of review is more plaintiff-friendly under state insurance law than under ERISA. In addition, state law provides for remedies and penalties that ERISA does not.