On May 18, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion in the Tibble v. Edison Int’l, 575 U.S. ___ (2015) case, finding that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit erred in applying the six-year statutory bar in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to plaintiff’s claim alleging that respondents owed a continuing duty to monitor and remove imprudent investment selections. Through the decision, the Supreme Court expressly held that ERISA fiduciaries have a continuing duty to monitor plan investments and to remove imprudent investments.
Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a number of significant ERISA cases. In its 2013-14 term, the Supreme Court decided two ERISA-based appeals – Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer and Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Acc. Ins. Co. In the current 2014-15 term, the Supreme Court already issued one ERISA decision in M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, and will issue another ERISA decision soon in Tibble v. Edison Int’l. Although these four cases have received much attention within the ERISA community, each year there are hundreds of other decisions issued by federal appellate and district courts that also impact a plan sponsor’s daily administration of welfare and retirement plans. In fact, many of these district court and appellate decisions are interpreting issues raised or addressed in these Supreme Court opinions. This article will address a few of these cases, which may not have received a lot of attention by the press, but could have long-lasting impacts on plan administration and litigation in future years.