View From McDermott: Estoppel Claims Under ERISA–Confusion in Need of Clarification

By on August 8, 2013

by Michael T. Graham

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 was enacted to set minimum participation, fiduciary and nondiscrimination standards for employee benefit plans and to protect employees when an employer voluntarily established retirement and health care plans in private industry.  Employers also benefited from ERISA’s enactment because ERISA made nationwide administration of benefit plans easier through federal preemption of most conflicting state laws.  Although ERISA preemption covers most state laws that impact plan administration, judicial rulings on certain ERISA issues, including estoppel claims, are creating new challenges for nationwide and uniform benefit administration.

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