Employee Benefits News examines legal developments that impact the employee benefits and executive compensation employers provide, including federal and state legislation, rules from federal...
April 7 --The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it won't review an appellate court decision holding that a proposed class of General Motors Corp. retirees failed to state valid promissory estoppel and fiduciary breach claims against Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.
In September 2013, a split panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit found that the retirees couldn't have reasonably relied on statements by MetLife that their insurance benefits would continue for life, because GM's welfare plan included an unambiguous reservation-of-rights clause explaining that benefits could be amended or terminated at any time (178 PBD, 9/13/13; 40 BPR 2197, 9/17/13; 56 EBC 1993).
The panel also rejected the retirees' fiduciary breach claim, finding that MetLife's statements weren't inaccurate or misleading, because they accurately reflected the terms of the GM plan in effect at that time.
One judge, Jane B. Stranch, authored a separate opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part. She criticized the majority's conclusion that the letters prepared by MetLife weren't inaccurate or misleading and said that the retirees stated valid claims for fiduciary breach and promissory estoppel.
In their petition for Supreme Court review, the retirees asked the high court whether an insurance carrier breaches its fiduciary obligation to communicate fully and accurately with plan participants by making an unqualified written representation that the amount of the participants' continuing life insurance benefits wouldn't be reduced for the rest of their lives.
They also asked whether plan participants are entitled to rely on an insurer's unqualified promise that participants' life insurance benefits wouldn't be reduced for the rest of their lives, and to bring an estoppel claim to enforce such promise.
The high court announced its decision April 7.
The petition was filed by Morganroth & Morganroth PC and Law Offices of Sheldon Miller PC.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)