Eversheds Sutherland 11th Circuit Business Blog
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ERISA’s Fee-Shifting Provision Permits Awards Against Parties, Not Attorneys

Does ERISA’s fee-shifting provision, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(1), permit a court to award fees against a party’s counsel?  Deciding this issue of first impression that has divided district courts within and without the Eleventh Circuit, the court in Peer v. Liberty Life Assurance Co. of Boston, 2021 WL 1257440 (11th Cir. Apr. 6, 2021), held that it does not.  Although the...

No ERISA Claims for Multi-Employer Pension Fund Contributor

Responding to a pension fund’s dire financial condition, its board passed an amendment requiring employers withdrawing from the fund to pay a portion of the fund’s deficiency. One contributing employer, WestRock, then sought a declaratory judgment that the amendment violated ERISA, arguing on appeal that it had a claim under 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132(a)(10) or 1451(a). Whether these provisions...

“Binding” External Benefit Determinations Might Not Bind Courts Under ERISA

Does ERISA preempt rules that give “binding” effect to benefit determinations made by a plan’s external review panel? Not as long as those determinations don’t actually bind courts, the Eleventh Circuit held in Alexandra H. v. Oxford Health Insurance Inc. Freedom Access Plan, 2016 WL 4361936 (11th Cir. Aug. 16, 2016). The plaintiff in the case was challenging an adverse...