Retirement, ERISA and Employee Pension Plans

Utah Supreme Court
Utah Court of Appeals
  1. Deseret Book Company v. Dept. of Workforce Services (Utah Ct. App., March 29, 2018) (declining to disturb determination that holiday actress was Deseret employee: the Board's conclusion that she was under the control and direction of Deseret Book was supported by substantial evidence)
  2. Fur Breeders Agricultural Cooperative v. Dept. of Workforce Services (Utah Ct. App., March 29, 2018) (setting aside order finding police officers were employees of the FBAC: the proper question is whether the officers are independent of the FBAC, not whether they are independent of any other party)
  3. Ostler v. Retirement Board (Utah Ct. App., June 15, 2017) (declining to disturb the board's decision declining pension benefits because Ostler forfeited 15 years of credit when he elected to receive a refund of his member contributions)
United States Supreme Court
  1. Cyan, Inc., v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund (U.S., March 20, 2018) (affirming determination that the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act did not strip state courts of Securities Act jurisdiction, nor empower defendants to remove such actions to federal court)
  2. Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton (U.S. Supreme Court, June 5, 2017) (reversing judgment in favor of Stapleton respondents: church plans include plans maintained by organizations whose principal purpose is the administration of such plans, regardless of who established them, churches or church-affiliated nonprofit organizations. These plans fall under ERISA's 29 USC s. 1003(b)(2) exemption) 
  3. Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan (U.S., January 20, 2016) (reversing an 11th-Circuit decision holding that when an ERISA-plan participant wholly dissipates a third-party settlement on nontraceable items, the plan fiduciary may attach the participant’s separate assets)
  4. Tibble v. Edison International (U.S., May 18, 2015) (vacating 9th-Circuit decision as to six-year statute of limitations, because fiduciary has a continuing obligation to review and discard imprudent investments) 
  5. Kerber v. Qwest Group Life Insurance Plan (U.S., June 2, 2011) (ERISA claim)
  6. Hardt v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co. (U.S., May 21, 2010) (in ERISA actions, the court has discretion to award fees and costs to either party so long as the claimant has achieved some degree of success on the merits)
  7. Conkright v. Frommert (U.S., April 21, 2010) (appropriate deference to pension plan administrator decisions)
  8. Kennedy v. Plan Administrator (U.S. Jan. 26, 2009) (ERISA)
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
  1. Employees' Retirement System v. Williams Companies (10th Cir., May 11, 2018) (affirming dismissal of amended complaint for failure to adequately allege scienter)
  2. Market Synergy Group, Inc., v. U.S. Department of Labor (10th Cir., March 13, 2018) (affirming denial of preliminary injunction preventing the DOL from implementing a new regulation: there was adequate notice, no arbitrary treatment, and an adequate economic  impact analysis)
  3. Van Steen v. Life Insurance Company of North America (10th Cir., January 2, 2018) (affirming reversal of Company's denial of Van Steen's disability benefits: its decision was arbitrary and capricious)
  4. Medina v. Catholic Health Initiatives (10th Cir., December 19, 2017) (affirming summary judgment in favor of Catholic Health: ERISA's church-plan exemption does not fall foul of the Establishment Clause)
  5. Stephens v. Alliant Techsystems Corp. (10th Cir., October 23, 2017) (affirming summary judgment in favor of Alliant Techsystems on Stephens' suit to nullify the lump-sum distribution of retirement benefits)
  6. Owings v. United of Omaha (10th Cir., October 17, 2017) (reversing summary judgment in favor of United, which was arbitrary and capricious in determining the date of Owens' disability and calculating the amount of his disability)
  7. GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund v. Coleridge Fine Arts (10th Cir., August 16, 2017) (reversing dismissal, based on lack of personal jurisdiction, of GCIU's attempt to collect withdrawal liability from defendants)
  8. The Pioneer Centres Holding Company Employee Stock Ownership Plan v. Alerus Financial, N.A. (10th Cir., June 5, 2017) (affirming summary judgment for Alerus: it is the duty of the plaintiff asserting a breach of fiduciary duty claim under ERISA to prove losses to the plan)
  9. Blair v. Alcatel-Lucent Long Term Disability Plan (10th Cir., May 9, 2017) (affirming summary judgment in favor of Alcatel-Lucent because there had been no abuse of discretion in the denial of disability below)
  10. Zander v. Knight Transportation, Inc. (10th Cir., April 18, 2017) (affirming dismissal of Zander's frivolous pro se action because he refused to appear for deposition and his brief was nearly unintelligible)
  11. SEC v. DeYoung (10th Cir., March 9, 2017) (affirming district court approval of a settlement including a bar to all other claims against the fund custodian by any of the 5500 account owners with a stake in the fund in receivership)
  12. Keller Tank Services II, Inc., v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue (10th Cir., February 21, 2017) (affirming summary judgment against Keller on its protest of tax penalty appeal regarding its deductions for contributions to an employee benefit plan)
  13. Amador v. Boilermaker-Blacksmith National Pension Trust (10th Cir., December 16, 2016) (affirming summary judgment against plaintiffs because the trust was neither arbitrary nor capricious in withholding benefits for failure to complete necessary IRS levy forms)
  14. Lebahn v. National Farmers Union (10th Cir., July 11, 2016) (affirming determination that pension-plan consultants are not fiduciaries as they do not exercise discretionary authority over plan administration)
  15. Jenkins-Dyer v. Exxon Mobil Corporation (10th Cir., June 6, 2016) (affirming summary judgment in favor of Exxon Mobil as Jenkins-Dyer was not a named beneficiary)
  16. Mid-South Iron Workers Welfare Plan v. Harmon (10th Cir., April 13, 2016) (affirming dismissal of plaintiffs' claim for breach of fiduciary duty)
  17. Lebahn v. Owens (10th Cir., February 19, 2016) (affirming denial of Lebahn's untimely 60(b) motion in regard to Owens' fiduciary status)
  18. Messick v. McKesson Corporation (10th Cir., February 17, 2016) (vacating district court order in light of procedural irregularity an incomplete record, and remanding to insurer for further administrative appeal)
  19. Fulghum v. Embarq Corporation (10th Cir., February 24, 2015) (fairly involved and lengthy decision regarding the corporation's alteration or elimination of retirement benefits---multiple holdings affirming and reversing lower court judgments on ERISA, fraud, ADEA, and breach of fiduciary duty claims)
  20. Menge v. AT&T (10th Cir., December 17, 2014) (upholding denial of short-term disability benefits under ERISA)
  21. Liebel v. Aetna Life Insurance Company (10th Cir., December 3, 2014) (affirming the denial of long term disability benefits as a procedurally reasonable and supported by substantial evidence)
  22. Holmes v. Colorado Coalition for the Homeless Long Term Disability Plan (10th Cir., Aug. 12, 2014) (ERISA)
  23. Hart v. Capgemini U.S. LLC (10th Cir., Nov. 15, 2013) (ERISA) 
  24. Holbrooks v. Sun Life Assurance Co. (July 7, 2014) (ERISA)
  25. Bigley v. Ciber, Inc. (July 2, 2014) (ERISA)
  26. Embriz v. Eighth District Electronic Pension Fund (10th Cir., May 22, 2014) (claims of unpaid pension and disability benefits dismissed for failure to state a claim under a statute such as ERISA)
  27. Rall v. Aetna Life Insurance Co. (10th Cir., May 6, 2014) (ERISA)
  28. Middleton v. Stephenson (10th Cir., Apr. 24, 2014) (ERISA violation—discussion about diversity jurisdiction)
  29. Garrett v. Principal Life Insurance Co. (10th Cir., Feb. 18, 2014) (ERISA —attorney fees)
  30. Fite v. Bayer Corp. (10th Cir., Feb. 4, 2014) (ERISA)
  31. Lightfoot v. Principal Life Insurance Co. (10th Cir., Nov. 6, 2013) (attorney fees in ERISA case)
  32. Denver Health & Hospital Authority v. Beverage Distributors Co. (10th Cir., Oct. 9, 2013) (ERISA—claim involving domestic partner)
  33. Mohammed v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. (10th Cir., Oct. 8, 2013) (ERISA claim following workplace injury)
  34. Jaremko v. ERISA Administrative Committee (10th Cir., May 8, 2013) (ERISA)
  35. Cardoza v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co. (10th Cir., Feb. 27, 2013) (ERISA)
  36. Benson v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co. (10th Cir., Feb. 14, 2013) (ERISA)
  37. Mozingo v. Trend Personnel Services (10th Cir., Dec. 6, 2012) (ERISA)
  38. Baker v. Allied Chemical Corp. (10th Cir., Nov. 29, 2012) (ERISA)
  39. Foster v. PPG Industries, Inc. (10th Cir., Sept. 5, 2012) (ERISA) 
  40. Spradley v. The Owens-Illinois Hourly Employees Welfare Benefit Plan  (10th Cir., June 1, 2012) (ERISA)
  41. Eissa v. Aetna Life Insurance Co. (10th Cir., May 8, 2012) (ERISA)
  42. Peterson v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada (10th Cir.,March 22, 2012) (upholding summary judgment dismissing ERISA claims)
  43. Brimer v. Life Insurance Co. (10th Cir., Feb. 10, 2012) (ERISA)
  44. Eugene S. v. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield (10th Cir., Nov. 15, 2011)  (ERISA)
  45. Brown v. Hartford Life Insurance (10th Cir., June 28, 2011) (ERISA)
  46. DeMoss v. Matrix Absence Management, Inc. (10th Cir., Aug. 23, 2011) (ERISA)
  47. Hansen v.Harper Excavating, Inc. (10th Cir. April 13, 2011) (ERISA claim for employerfailure to provide insurance when it claimed to be) 
  48. Young v. United Parcel Services, Inc. (10th Cir., Mar. 22, 2011) (ERISA)
  49. Palmer v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. (10th Cir., Mar. 16, 2011) (ERISA)
  50. S. v. Altius Health Plans, Inc. (10th Cir., Nov. 5, 2010) (ERISA—employee-provided health coverage does not cover residential treatment)
  51. Jensen v. Solvay Chemicals, Inc. (10th Cir. Sept. 7, 2010) (ERISA and ADEA claims)
  52. Murphy v. Deloitte & Touche Group Ins. Plan (10th Cir., Sept. 8, 2010) (denial of discovery request and grant of summary judgment on ERISA claim vacated)
  53. Russell v. Chase Investment Services (10th Cir., June 28, 2010) (ERISA claim is time-barred)
  54. Rizzi v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co. (10th Cir., June 18, 2010) (ERISA)
  55. LaAsmar v. Phelps Dodge Corp. (10th Cir., May 6, 2010) (ERISA)
  56. Miller v. Monumental Life Ins. Co. (10th Cir., Apr. 28, 2010) (ERISA)
  57. Dobbs v. Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield (10th Cir., Mar. 31, 2010) (ERISA)
  58. Loughray v. Hartford Group Life Insurance Company (10th Cir., Feb. 23, 2010) (ERISA)
  59. Dove v. The Prudential Ins. Co.of Am.(10th Cir., Feb. 4, 2010) (ERISA)
  60. Graham v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co. (10th Cir., Dec. 29, 2009) (ERISA)
  61. Rasenack v. AIG Life Insurance Co. (10th Cir., November 2, 2009) (claim for payment of hemiplegia benefits)
  62. Salisbury v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins., Co. (10th Cir., Sept. 30, 2009) (ERISA)
  63. Holcomb v. Unum Life Insurance Co. (10th Cir. Aug. 11, 2009) (ERISA claim—denial of long-term disability benefits affirmed)
  64. Phelan v. Wyoming Associated Builders (10th Cir., July 31, 2009) (ERISA claim—termination determined to be arbitrary and capricious)
  65. Holdeman v. Devine (10th Cir. July 21, 2009) (ERISA)
  66. Kerber v. Qwest Pension Plan (10th Cir. July 17, 2009) (ERISA)
  67. Smith v. New Mexico Coal 401(k) Personal Savings Plan (10th Cir., June 9, 2009) (ERISA claim—reversal of district court’s decision approving of payment to children instead of spouse)
  68. Smith v. New Mexico Coal 401(k) Personal Savings Plan (10th Cir., June 9, 2009) (ERISA claim—reversal of district court’s decision approving of payment to children instead of spouse)

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