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ERISA Watch – August 27, 2015

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Good morning fellow ERISA Watchers! There were several notable appellate decisions this past week. The Second Circuit held that a § 502(a)(1)(B) claim may be brought against the claims administrator who has discretion to make final benefit determinations, § 502(a)(3) may impose a fiduciary duty arising indirectly from the Parity Act, and simultaneous claims under § 502(a)(1)(B) and 502(a)(3) may proceed. The Third Circuit, in two separate decisions, held that court orders remanding benefit claims to the administrator do not constitute final and appealable decisions under 29 U.S.C. § 1291 (but declined to address whether ERISA remands are unconstitutional – minor detail, right?) and that a denial letter’s failure to include the plan’s time limitation to file a civil action renders it unenforceable. The Sixth Circuit held that a Summary Plan Description may be a controlling plan document (because apparently Amara is so 2011). The Fifth Circuit, thank goodness, issued no ERISA opinions this past week. And this, my friends, is all straight outta ERISA. Enjoy!

Second Circuit

§ 502(a)(1)(B) claim may be brought against the claims administrator who has discretion to make final benefit determinations; § 502(a)(3) may impose a fiduciary duty arising indirectly from the Parity Act; simultaneous claims under § 502(a)(1)(B) and 502(a)(3) may proceed. In New York State Psychiatric Ass’n, Inc. v. UnitedHealth Grp., No. 14-20-CV, __F.3d___, 2015 WL 4940352 (2d Cir. Aug. 20, 2015), a matter involving alleged violations of ERISA and the Parity Act, Defendant United challenged New York State Psychiatric Association’s (“NYSPA”) associational standing to sue on behalf of its members. United also contended that it could not be sued under § 502(a)(3) for alleged violations of the Parity Act or under § 502(a)(1)(B), and that it would not be “appropriate” for the plaintiffs to obtain relief under § 502(a)(3) if § 502(a)(1)(B) offered an adequate remedy. NYSPA is a professional organization of psychiatrists practicing in New York State. Plaintiff Denbo, an employee of the CBS Sports Network, has health insurance benefits through the CBS Medical Plan, which incorporates the requirements of ERISA and the Parity Act. United is the claims administrator for the CBS Plan and has absolute discretion to interpret and to apply the rules of the Plan to determine claims for Plan benefits. Denbo alleged that United improperly administered the CBS Plan by treating claims submitted for routine, outpatient, out-of-network medical/surgical care more favorably than claims for ongoing, routine, outpatient, out-of-network psychotherapy sessions, in violation of the Parity Act. The district court (SDNY) agreed with United and granted its motion to dismiss. The Second Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part and remanded.

With respect to NYSPA’s associational standing, an association has standing to bring suit on behalf of its members when (a) its members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right; (b) the interests it seeks to protect are germane to the organization’s purpose; and (c) neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested requires the participation of individual members in the lawsuit. The only real dispute is whether at the motion to dismiss stage NYSPA has plausibly alleged that its claims do not require individualized proof. The court concluded that it has. NYSPA challenges United’s systemic policies and practices insofar as they violate ERISA and the Parity Act, and it seeks only injunctive and declaratory relief. If at summary judgment or at trial NYSPA’s claims require significant individual participation or proof, then the district court may dismiss NYSPA for lack of standing at that point. The court vacated dismissal of NYSPA’s claims and remanded for it to consider in the first instance whether NYSPA’s pleadings can survive the pleading standard set forth in Twombly.

With respect to Plaintiff Denbo, the court ultimately rejected United’s argument that it cannot be sued under § 502(a)(1)(B) in its capacity as a claims administrator, since, by its plain terms, § 502(a)(1)(B) does not preclude suits against claims administrators. United has absolute discretion to make claims decision and if United’s actions violated Denbo’s rights under ERISA, United is the only entity capable of providing direct relief to Denbo. The court held that where the claims administrator has “sole and absolute discretion” to deny benefits and makes “final and binding” decisions as to appeals of those denials, the claims administrator exercises total control over claims for benefits and is an appropriate defendant in a § 502(a)(1)(B) action for benefits. This holding is in accord with six other circuits: 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 11th.

With respect to United’s challenge that it cannot be held liable under § 502(a)(3) for violations of the Parity Act because it is the claims administrator of a self-funded plan, the court held that § 502(a)(3) may impose a fiduciary duty arising indirectly from the Parity Act even if the Parity Act does not directly impose such a duty. And, because § 502(a)(3) admits of no limit on the universe of possible defendants, the court held that United is a proper defendant for Denbo’s Parity Act claim under § 502(a)(3). The court found that the dismissal of Denbo’s § 502(a)(3) claims on the ground that adequate relief is available under § 502(a)(1)(B) was premature. The court explained that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Varity Corp. did not eliminate a private cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty when another potential remedy is available. Instead, if a plaintiff succeeds on both claims, the district court’s remedy is limited to such equitable relief as is considered appropriate. Here, the court found that it is not clear at the motion-to-dismiss stage of the litigation that monetary benefits under § 502(a)(1)(B) alone will provide Denbo a sufficient remedy. If, on remand, Denbo prevails on his claims under both § 502(a)(1)(B) and § 502(a)(3), the district court will determine whether equitable relief under § 502(a)(3) is appropriate. To the extent Denbo seeks redress for United’s past breaches of fiduciary duty or seeks to enjoin United from committing future breaches, the relief sought would count as “equitable relief” under § 502(a)(3).

Third Circuit

Failure to inform claimant of plan’s time limitation to file a civil action renders it unenforceable. In Mirza v. Ins. Adm’r of Am., Inc., No. 13-3535, __F.3d___, 2015 WL 5024159 (3d Cir. Aug. 26, 2015), the Third Circuit held that the regulations implementing ERISA, which specifically requires that a benefit denial letter set forth a “description of the plan’s review procedures and the time limits applicable to such procedures, including a statement of the claimant’s right to bring a civil action,” (29 C.F.R. § 2560.503-1(g)(1)(iv)), means that plan administrators must inform claimants of plan-imposed deadlines for judicial review. In this case the disability plan contained a one-year limitations period for filing a civil action but the denial letter advising Plaintiff of his right to judicial review did not mention this time limit. Plaintiff filed suit almost 19 months after he received the denial letter and the district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants on the issue of whether the disability claim for benefits was time-barred in light of the plan’s one-year limitations period. The Third Circuit vacated and remanded the decision of the district court, holding that the appropriate remedy for Defendants’ regulatory violation is to set aside the plan’s time limit and apply the limitations period from the most analogous state-law cause of action-here, New Jersey’s six-year deadline for breach of contract claims. Doing so renders Plaintiff’s civil action timely. The court found, contrary to the district court, that the issue of equitable tolling is not relevant to Plaintiff’s claim. This decision is in accord with the decisions of the First and Sixth Circuit Courts of Appeals. See Ortega Candelaria v. Orthobiologics LLC, 661 F.3d 675, 680 (1st Cir. 2011) and Moyer v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 762 F.3d 503, 505 (6th Cir. 2014). Two other Circuits that considered a plan’s limitation period did not specifically speak to the meaning of the ERISA regulation at issue here. See Scharff v. Raytheon Co. Short Term Disability Plan, 581 F.3d 899 (9th Cir. 2009); Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., 496 F. App’x 129 (2d Cir. 2012) (unpublished). The court also rejected Defendants’ “substantial compliance” argument.

Court orders remanding benefit claims to the administrator do not constitute final and appealable decisions under 29 U.S.C. § 1291. In Stevens v. Santander Holdings USA Inc., No. 14-1481, __F.3d___, 2015 WL 5000809 (3d Cir. Aug. 24, 2015), the Third Circuit considered whether the district court’s decision – finding that Liberty Life’s termination of Plaintiff’s short-term disability benefits was arbitrary and capricious and remanding the case to the plan administrator with instructions to reinstate STD benefit payments retroactively and to determine Plaintiff’s eligibility for long-term disability benefit payments -constitutes a final and appealable decision under 29 U.S.C. § 1291. After applying the three-prong test the court recognized in Papotto v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., 731 F.3d 265 (3d Cir.2013), the court held that that the district retained jurisdiction over the case and that the order from which Defendants have appealed is not yet appealable. First, the remand order which instructs Liberty Life to consider fully Plaintiff’s long-term disability benefits claim does not end the litigation on the merits and leave nothing for the court to do but execute the judgment. Second, the dismissal of this appeal for lack of jurisdiction will not mean that there can never be an appellate review of the order awarding Plaintiff’s STD benefits. The district court did not intend to enter a final judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 54 as it did not make the findings required by that rule to enter a final judgment on either the STD or LTD claim. The court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The court made clear, “that regardless of delay or resource costs, this Court generally will consider remands to ERISA plan administrators nonfinal because, in the ordinary case, they contemplate that the plan administrator will engage in further proceedings. We also make clear that we will interpret a district court’s remand order to a plan administrator in an ERISA case as including a reservation of the court’s jurisdiction over the case so that, after a determination by the administrator on remand, either party may seek to reopen the district court proceedings and obtain a final judgment.” Lastly, the court declined to address Plaintiff’s argument that orders remanding cases to plan administrators are not permissible under ERISA and “may even be unconstitutional” since Plaintiff did not file a cross-appeal from the district court’s order remanding the case.

Sixth Circuit

Summary Plan Description may be a controlling plan document. In Bd. of Trustees v. Moore, No. 14-4048, __F.3d___, 2015 WL 5010985 (6th Cir. Aug. 25, 2015), the Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefits Plan sued Moore and the law firm Goodson & Company, Ltd. (collectively, “Moore”), seeking reimbursement for $34,204.10 in medical expenses that the Plan paid on Moore’s behalf, following Moore’s $500,000 settlement of a negligence action filed against a third party responsible for his injuries. Moore counterclaimed that the Trust Agreement did not provide for reimbursement and that the Board had violated its fiduciary duty by misrepresenting the terms of the Plan. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision concluding that the summary plan description containing the subrogation provision set out the binding terms of the Plan and that the plain language of the provision required reimbursement. The Sixth Circuit also concluded that the district court’s denial of Moore’s discovery demand that the Board produce “all documents and all information on every subrogation claim the Board has ever asserted against a plan participant” did not constitute an abuse of discretion.

In coming to its decision, the Sixth Circuit considered three issues: (1) whether the SPD is a controlling plan document, making the subrogation provision enforceable; (2) whether the settlement funds were wholly “excess and separate” from the medical costs the Board seeks to recover and therefore exempt from subrogation; and (3) whether subrogation applies in the absence of a judicial finding or admission of liability by the third party. As to the first issue, the court found that the summary plan description is the controlling document there is no other plan document that establishes Moore’s right to receive medical benefits and the Plan’s subrogation rights. Nothing in CIGNA Corp. v. Amara, 131 S. Ct. 1866 (2011) prevents a document from functioning both as the ERISA plan and as an SPD, if the terms of the plan so provide. As to the second issue, the court disagreed with Moore that the subrogation’s provision means that the settlement amounts are “excess and separate” from the expenses paid by the Plan and are not recoverable in subrogation. The court found that the word “excess” creates a mathematical limitation on the plan’s subrogation rights, not a categorical one. As to the third issue, the court found that the terms of the subrogation provision does not require a judicial determination of liability.

Select Slip Copy & Not Reported Decisions

Disability Benefit Claims

In Usztics v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., No. 14-CV-11940, 2015 WL 5013854 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 24, 2015), the court held that Unum Life Insurance Company of America did not abuse its discretion in denying Plaintiff’s claim for short-term disability benefits following a flare-up of her fibromyalgia syndrome. Specifically, it was not arbitrary and capricious for Unum to fail to order an independent medical examination or have a nurse (rather than a rheumatologist) review Plaintiff’s medical record.

In Fenwick v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., No. 3:13-CV-1090-DJH, 2015 WL 5005803 (W.D. Ky. Aug. 21, 2015), the court granted partial summary judgment to Hartford on Plaintiff’s breach of fiduciary claim, finding such claim not sustainable as equitable relief under ERISA. Plaintiff claimed that Hartford breached its duty by: (a) utilizing a claims process designed to systematically delay decisions; (b) automatically accepting the opinions of Hartford’s medical reviewers, discounting the opinions of treating physicians; and (c) training its reviewers to seek reasonable, rather than accurate, decisions. The court rejected the systematic delay claim because Plaintiff has no proof of systematic delay (although admitting that without further discovery, it would be impossible to determine if there was systematic delay), but also because the case presents a justiciability problem: once her benefits claim is adjudicated, her fiduciary duty argument is moot (this would be different if Plaintiff were part of a class). Second, the court found that when a § 1132(a)(1)(B) remedy is available, § 1132(a)(3) will not provide an appropriate equitable remedy. Third, procedural discrepancies typically do not warrant substantive remedies: if a procedural failing would not warrant reversal of an adverse claims decision, it would be inconsistent for it to trigger a claim for breach of fiduciary duty. With respect to the claim that Hartford systematically accepts the determination of its own medical reviewers without considering the opinions of treating physicians, the court found that the argument failed factually because none of Plaintiff’s treating doctors said she was disabled. Lastly, the court found that Plaintiff’s accuracy argument had more traction, but ultimately concluded that striving for an accurate decision usually come to the same result as searching for a reasonable one. Further, Hartford’s alleged pursuit of a merely reasonable decision did cause Plaintiff harm since even her own doctors did not opine that Plaintiff was disabled.

In Beasley v. Unum Life Ins. Co., No. 13-CV-12349, 2015 WL 4966875 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 20, 2015), the court granted summary judgment in favor of Unum on Plaintiff’s claim for lifetime long-term disability benefits, where Unum stopped paying benefits after Plaintiff reached the age of 65 per the terms of a specimen policy. In previous litigation between the parties, neither party had a copy of the original disability policy so they stipulated to the terms of a specimen policy. Relying on those terms, Plaintiff prevailed and his benefits reinstated. As such, the court found that Plaintiff was judicially estopped in this litigation from arguing that the specimen policy does not govern his right to continued disability benefits.

In Hill v. Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Ret. Plan, No. 14-41159, __Fed.Appx.___, 2015 WL 4926501 (5th Cir. Aug. 19, 2015), the Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court, which found that the Plan did not abuse its discretion in determining that Plaintiff was entitled to a lower monthly disability benefit amount.

In Stephens v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., No. 14-11809, 2015 WL 4934543 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 18, 2015), a matter challenging the denial of short-term and long-term disability benefits, the court determined that Prudential abused its discretion in denying Plaintiff’s claims. Prudential retained an occupational health specialist, Dr. Joseph Rea, to review Plaintiff’s medical records. Dr. Rea found “insufficient support for any significant physical limitations.” Prudential denied Plaintiff’s appeal for STD benefits in a letter that borrowed heavily from Dr. Rea’s report. The court explained that all three of Plaintiff’s treating physicians thought that she should remain off work at least through July 15, 2013-two weeks after Prudential terminated benefits. None of the reasons Prudential provided in its denial letter support rejecting the consistent opinions of three treating doctors. Because the court could not determine that Plaintiff was clearly entitled to benefits after July 15, 2013, it remanded the claim to Prudential for a full and fair review.


In Spano v. Boeing Co., No. 06-CV-0743-NJR-DGW, 2015 WL 4941698 (S.D. Ill. Aug. 19, 2015), a matter involving an ERISA class action in which Plaintiffs assert Defendants breached fiduciary duties owed to Plaintiffs in operating and administering their 401(k) plans, the court granted Plaintiffs’ motion to exclude documents that Defendant produced less than three months before trial. The documents Defendants produced relate to Plaintiff’s Company Stock Fund claim and should have been disclosed much earlier in the litigation, which has been pending for nine years.

ERISA Preemption

**CORRECTION. On August 13, 2015, I reported that in Rose v. HealthComp, Inc., No. 1:15-CV-00619-SAB, 2015 WL 4730173 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 10, 2015), the court found Plaintiff’s action asserting a state law privacy and unfair business practices causes of action are not preempted by ERISA and remanded the matter to state court. However, to clarify, the court held that there was no complete preemption so as to survive remand but the court did not reach the issue of conflict preemption.

Life Insurance & AD&D Benefit Claims

In Reg’l Employers’ Assurance Leagues Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Ass’n Trust v. Castellano, No. CV 03-6903, 2015 WL 5025446 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 25, 2015), a declaratory judgment action brought by the REAL VEBA Trust and other defendants, the court ordered that the Trust must pay $750,000.00 to Defendant. The court did not order Koresko or the Koresko entities pay the benefits to Defendant because in another case the court ordered them to pay restitution for losses and disgorgement of profits to the Trusts in an amount over $19 million. Because the court granted Defendant benefits under the Plan, it denied Defendant’s motion for summary judgment on its equitable ERISA claim, common law counterclaims, and the civil RICO claims.

Pension Benefit Claims

In Crouch v. Bussen Quarries, Inc., No. 4:14CV1733 CDP, 2015 WL 4959517 (E.D. Mo. Aug. 19, 2015), the court found that Defendants did not violate ERISA (as amended by the Pension Protection Act of 2006) when they eliminated Plaintiff’s early-retirement benefits consistent with the Central States Rehabilitation Plan, which permitted the elimination of certain types of adjustable benefits. The court also found that Bussen Quarries was not acting as Plaintiff’s fiduciary when it negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement with his union such that it withdrew from the Central States Pension Plan. “It is well settled that an employer is not acting as a fiduciary when it is acting in its role as a sponsor making a decision about what benefits to offer its employees.” Bussen Quarries termination of its participation in a pension plan, which had the effect of reducing Plaintiff’s benefits, is not enough to make Bussen legally responsible for that result under ERISA.

Pleading Issues & Procedure

In Infectious Disease Doctors, P.A. v. Bluecross Blueshield of Texas, No. 3:13-CV-2920-L, 2015 WL 4992964 (N.D. Tex. Aug. 21, 2015), the court denied BCBC’s motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B) clam simply because Plaintiff did not include the terms of the insurance plan in the complaint. Plaintiff asserted that: (1) IDD’s patients assigned their benefits to IDD; (2) IDD submitted these patients’ claims to BCBSTX; and (3) BCBSTX’s failure to pay violated the terms of these plans. Plaintiff also attached tables identifying the patient name, the policy number, the group number, the name of the physicians, the home state, the billed amount, and the medical record number. The court found these allegations to be sufficiently detailed to permit the reasonable inference that Defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct.

In Trustees of Sheet Metal Workers Local Union No. 80 Ins. Trust Fund v. Duggan, No. CV 13-CV-10415, 2015 WL 4944125 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 19, 2015), where Plaintiff alleged that Defendant violated ERISA by charging hidden administrative fees (“Disputed Fees”), the court granted Plaintiff’s motion to file an amended complaint alleging that Defendant failed to properly disclose additional administrative fees beyond the Disputed Fees that are the subject of the amended complaint. The court noted that a claim that is similar to the one Plaintiff wishes to add here survived a motion to dismiss in a similar case against Defendant pending before another judge. Also, because discovery has not commenced and the court has yet to issue a scheduling order, the court found that Plaintiff did not wait an unreasonable amount of time to seek leave to amend.

In Alquahwagi v. Shelby Enterprises, Inc, No. 14-13691, 2015 WL 4944341 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 19, 2015), a matter seeking life insurance benefits, the court denied Defendant’s motion to strike Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint for failing to state that the court’s review is limited to the administrative record. Defendant in the alternative requested that the court specify that Plaintiff’s only avenue for relief is through proceedings conducted in accordance with Wilkins v. Baptist Healthcare Sys., Inc., 150 F.3d 609 (6th Cir.1998). The court found it unnecessary to make such a specification since adherence to prior decisions of the Sixth Circuit is the rule, and prior decisions remain controlling authority unless an inconsistent decision of the United States Supreme Court requires modification of the decision or the Sixth Circuit sitting en banc overrules the prior decision.

In Children’s Hosp. Med. Ctr. of Akron v. Youngstown Associates in Radiology, Inc., No. 14-3437, __Fed.Appx.___, 2015 WL 4899529 (6th Cir. Aug. 17, 2015), the Sixth Circuit vacated and remanded the district court’s decision on the merits of Plaintiff’s allegedly assigned medical claim against Defendant because the court did not first consider the standing issue. Lower courts must first decide standing issues before they address questions on the merits.

Provider Claims

In NELSON VETANZE, doing business as OMNI CHIROPRACTIC, Plaintiff, v. NFL PLAYER INSURANCE PLAN, Defendant., No. 11-CV-2734-RBJ, 2015 WL 5013614 (D. Colo. Aug. 25, 2015), the court affirmed the denial of benefits to 21 Denver Broncos who received chiropractic treatment from Plaintiff based on the Plan’s exclusion of coverage for treatment of work-related injuries. Cigna, the third-party administrator, adopted a policy of not paying any chiropractic claims for services performed during each Club’s Training Camp.

Subrogation/Reimbursement Claims

In CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT OPERATING COMPANY, INC., as fiduciary & on behalf of, HARRAHS OPERATING COMPANY, INC.WELFARE BENEFIT PLAN PLAINTIFF v. MICHAEL JOHNSON, & BRIAN CLARE, individually, as administrator & fiduciary of his client trust “IOLTA” account, & as owner-operator of BRAIN E. CLARE – ATTORNEY AT LAW DEFENDANTS, No. 3:13-CV-00620-CRS, 2015 WL 5020695 (W.D. Ky. Aug. 21, 2015), the court held that Plaintiff did hold an “equitable lien by agreement” in the amount of $136,479.57 on the settlement the attorney deposited in his IOLTA, but that an individual holding an “equitable lien by agreement” on certain property does not have legal title to that property. Caesars’ equitable interest did not encroach upon Defendants’ legal title at the time the attorney disbursed the settlement, thus Caesars cannot establish that it had legal title to the allegedly converted property and cannot prevail on its conversion claim. The court also dismissed Plaintiff’s breach of fiduciary duty claim against the attorney since whether by virtue of common law, the “nature” of the IOLTA, the Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct, or the Kentucky Uniform Trust code, the attorney was not encumbered with fiduciary duties.

Withdrawal Liability & Unpaid Benefit Contributions

In Bd. of Trustees of the Laborers Health & Welfare Trust Fund for N. California v. Lineation Markings Corp., No. 14-CV-00575-HSG, 2015 WL 4999850 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 21, 2015), the court granted Plaintiff’s motion for default judgment and awarded $162,777.63 in unpaid contributions, damages, and attorneys’ fees, as well as an injunction ordering Defendant to submit its books and records for an audit by Plaintiff and retain jurisdiction over the case.

In Sheet Metal Workers’ Nat. Pension Fund v. Maximum Metal Manufacturers Inc., No. 13 CIV. 7741 PAE, 2015 WL 4935116 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 18, 2015), the court granted the Benefits Funds’ motion for summary judgment against all defendants for the period from August 1, 2009 through July 31, 2013, but denied summary judgment as to the portion of the Benefits Funds’ claims relating to contributions for the period between March 2009 and July 2009, because those claims are subject to a binding arbitration clause in the 2005 CBA. The court also awarded the Benefits Funds attorneys’ fees in the amount of $24,217.88, and costs in the amount of $940.68.

In Trustees of the Sheet Metal Workers’ Nat. Pension Fund v. Steel & Duct Fabrication, Inc., No. 14 CIV. 5503 KAM SMG, 2015 WL 4925170 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 18, 2015), the court granted Plaintiffs’ discovery demand that Defendants make available for an audit their books and records in order to determine the amount of contributions owed to Plaintiffs, on behalf of their participants, for the period January 1, 2008 through April 30, 2014, pursuant to 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132(g), 1145.

In Kelly v. Gas Fields Specialists, Inc., No. 1:14-CV-4, 2015 WL 4926576 (M.D. Pa. Aug. 18, 2015), the court granted the Fund’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability, finding that Defendant cannot avoid its obligation to contribute to the Funds on behalf of all of its employees, and the Funds are entitled to judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Section 515 of ERISA.

In Trustees of Plumbers & Pipefitters Nat. Pension Fund v. Stevens Mech. Contractors Inc., No. 1:14-CV-1769, 2015 WL 4911768 (E.D. Va. Aug. 17, 2015), an action seeking unpaid contributions, interest on unpaid contributions, liquidated damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys’ fees and costs, the court granted Pipefitters National Pension Fund’s Motion for Default Judgment against Defendant in the amount of $11,201.28; and in favor of the International Training Fund against Defendant in the amount of $261.67. The court also awarded Plaintiffs $2,378.79 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

*Please note that these are only case summaries of select decisions as they are reported on Westlaw and do not constitute legal advice. To view past weekly case summaries, visit us online at You are receiving this because of your interest in ERISA. Subscription requests, comments, or suggestions may be addressed to To opt out, please reply with “Remove” in the subject line.

Case summaries authored by Michelle L. Roberts, Kantor & Kantor LLP, 1050 Marina Village Pkwy., Ste. 105, Alameda, CA 94501.

© 2015 by Kantor & Kantor LLP. All rights reserved.

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