June 28, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday added a third ERISA case to its docket for next term, agreeing to wade into a battle between retirees and U.S. Bank that hinges on whether workers can sue over the mismanagement of their retirement savings when their pension plan is fully funded.

The Supreme Court's decision to grant U.S. Bank retirees James Thole and Sherry Smith's petition for review gives the justices a chance to resolve a circuit split.  

The Eighth Circuit went against the Second, Third and Sixth circuits in October 2017 when it ruled that workers can’t sue fully funded pension plans for breaches of fiduciary duty. If the plan is fully funded, workers can’t prove they’d suffer a financial harm from the mismanagement and thus don’t have standing to sue, the Eighth Circuit panel ruled.

The Second, Third and Sixth circuits have held that a violation of workers’ ERISA rights is enough to justify a lawsuit.

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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, Douglas D. Geyser and John Stokes of Stris & Maher LLP.

The full article can be accessed here.