AARP on Wednesday told the U.S. Supreme Court that an Eighth Circuit decision limiting when workers can sue pension plans for Employee Retirement Income Security Act violations would let the people in charge of such plans "gamble away plan assets with impunity," joining two U.S. Bank retirees attempting to overturn the ruling.
AARP said in its amicus brief that the Eighth Circuit got it wrong when it concluded that workers are unable to sue fully funded pension plans for fiduciary breaches under ERISA.
The current funding level of a plan has no impact on the fiduciary duties outlined in the federal benefits statute, the organization told the high court, which agreed to hear the case in June.
A group of law professors and Public Citizen, an organization that advocates for consumers, also threw their support behind the U.S. Bank retirees with amici briefs Tuesday.
Public Citizen expressed concern that U.S. Bank's arguments about standing in the case would "strip Congress of its Article I authority to establish rights and responsibilities that are privately enforceable in federal court." And the law professors said trust law had long allowed beneficiaries to sue to recover losses to the trust even if they hadn't suffered an economic injury individually.
The retirees are represented by Karen L. Handorf, Michelle C. Yau and Mary J. Bortscheller of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, and Peter K. Stris, Brendan S. Maher, Rachana A. Pathak, Douglas D. Geyser and John Stokes of Stris & Maher LL
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