Summary of the Lawsuit
On March 26, 2020, participants in the Nationwide Savings Plan (the “Plan”) filed a class action against Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company; Nationwide Life Insurance Company; and other Defendants alleging that Defendants’ use of the Guarantee Investment Fund in the Plan violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.
Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), the federal law that sets minimum standards according to which companies, including Nationwide, must deal with retirement plans. These standards mandate that retirement plan fiduciaries act prudently and solely in the interest of the Plan’s participants, avoid self-dealing when making decisions with respect to the investment of their employees’ retirement savings.
The lawsuit alleges that, through the Guaranteed Investment Fund, Nationwide improperly set its own compensation, earned impermissible profits at the expense of its employees, and exposed its employees’ retirement savings to undue risk. The lawsuit is brought as a putative class action on behalf of participants and beneficiaries in the Plan from March 26, 2014 through the date of judgment and seeks to compensate these individuals who were affected by the challenged conduct.
Summary of the Claims
The lawsuit alleges that Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and its affiliates have violated numerous provisions of ERISA by, among other things:
Breaching their fiduciary duties by failing to prudently and loyally select and monitor investments for the Plan;
- Causing its employees’ retirement contributions to inure to Defendants’ benefit; and
- Engaging in multiple transactions prohibited under ERISA with the Plan and its assets.
In a class action case, one or more individuals— called class representatives—file a lawsuit on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated individuals who have similar legal claims. This procedure permits the claims of a large number of people to proceed in one lawsuit and ensures that all similarly situated persons are treated consistently.
This lawsuit is brought as a class action on behalf of all participants and beneficiaries in the Nationwide Savings Plan from March 26, 2014 through the date of judgment. Any individual Defendants are excluded from the class.
Status of the Litigation
Plaintiff filed a Class Action Complaint on March 26, 2020 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (captioned Sweeney, et al. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, et al., Case No. 2:20-cv-01569), where the case was assigned to the Honorable James L. Graham.
Plaintiffs subsequently filed an amended complaint on October 5, 2020. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint on November 5, 2020. Plaintiffs filed in opposition to Defendants’ motion on December 11, 2020, and Defendants submitted a reply in support of their motion to dismiss on January 8, 2021.
On March 18, 2022, Judge Graham denied the motion to dismiss in its entirety. Litigation is ongoing.