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Defined Benefit Plan Participants Have Standing to Pursue Fiduciary Breach Claims

A federal district court in Minnesota found that participants in a defined benefit pension plan had standing to assert claims that defendants breached their fiduciary duties by, among other things, shifting to an equities-only investment strategy that resulted in the plan becoming significantly underfunded and thereby increasing the risk of default.  In so ruling, the court determined that even though U.S. Bancorp was capable of meeting its minimum funding obligations, plaintiffs plausibly alleged that plan assets became insufficient to meet its liabilities, and this increased risk of default represented a personal injury sufficient to establish standing.  The court nevertheless concluded that plaintiffs’ claim was barred by ERISA section 413’s six-year statute of limitations because defendants adopted the equities-only strategy more than six years before plaintiffs filed suit, and plaintiffs did not challenge any specific equity purchases that took place during the limitations period.  The case is Adedipe v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 2014 WL 6633083 (D. Minn. Nov. 21, 2014).

© 2020 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume IV, Number 337


About this Author

Joseph Clark, Labor Attorney, Proskauer Rose Law FIrm

Joseph E. Clark is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group where he focuses on complex employee benefits litigation.

Joe represents a diverse range of clients including financial service providers, Fortune 500 corporations, plan fiduciaries, and multiemployer funds in matters including government investigations, breach of fiduciary duty claims, cash balance plan conversions, denials of claims for benefits, and withdrawal liability and delinquent...