An Ohio federal judge on Friday denied Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.'s bid to toss a proposed class action alleging the company breached its fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act through the mismanagement of employees' pension plan.
In a 14-page opinion, U.S. District Judge James L. Graham denied a request by Nationwide Mutual, its subsidiaries and benefit committee members to end the proposed class action alleging they violated ERISA by transferring assets from the pension plan — called the Guaranteed Investment Fund, which is an investment option under Nationwide's larger savings plan — to a Nationwide Mutual subsidiary that serviced the plan.
The judge held that the most recent rendition of the complaint sufficiently alleges a fiduciary breach by stating "outright" that the defendants favored the economic interests of Nationwide Mutual over plan participants.
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The plan participants are represented by Eric H. Zagrans of the Zagrans Law Firm LLC and Karen Handorf, Michelle C. Yau, Scott M. Lempert and Daniel R. Sutter of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.
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