Elizabeth M. Rowe Elizabeth M. Rowe

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  Elizabeth M. Rowe focuses her practice on complex civil litigation. She has experience with contract interpretation, negligence and assumption of risk, breaches of fiduciary duty, and burden of proof. Read Elizabeth Rowe's full bio.

Class Certification Denied in ERISA Health Coverage Lawsuit


By , and on Nov 12, 2019
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans

A federal district court denied class certification to health plan participants who claimed the plan promised them lifetime benefits. The court found too many individualized questions about what the plan told each participant, and the claims could not be resolved on a class-wide basis. Fitzwater, et al. v. Consol Energy, Inc., et al., No. 2:16-cv-09849...

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Tyll v. Stanley Black & Decker: When Plan Ambiguity Cost an Employer $4 Million


By , , and on Sep 12, 2019
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans

An employer learned the full cost of ambiguity when a Connecticut federal district court agreed with an employee’s widow that the word “maximum” was ambiguous in the company’s life insurance plan, thus making the widow entitled to an additional $4 million in benefits. This decision serves as a warning for employers sponsoring insured benefits. Access...

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The Top Hat-Exemption After Sikora


By , and on Nov 29, 2018
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation, Retirement Plans

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) has long been a source of complex and often-expensive litigation for employers. However, as the number of actions brought by employees under ERISA have surged, employer-defendants have often relied on the so-called top-hat exemption to dismiss certain claims involving executives. Now, several federal courts of appeals...

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Court of Appeals Affirms “Paternalistic” Breach of Fiduciary Duties


By and on Sep 13, 2018
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Retirement Plans

The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently affirmed a Minnesota district court’s dismissal of a claim against Wells Fargo & Company (Wells Fargo) under ERISA. A former employee had alleged Wells Fargo breached fiduciary duties by retaining Wells Fargo’s own investment funds as a 401(k) option, and defaulting to those funds when...

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