November 30, 2021

Volume XI, Number 334

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November 30, 2021

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November 29, 2021

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Fourth Circuit Concludes That State Law Claims For Life Insurance Benefits Are Preempted

The Fourth Circuit recently concluded that a Sears employee’s state law claims seeking money damages based on denial of insurance benefits (for failure to submit evidence of insurability questionnaire) was preempted by ERISA.  The Court explained that resolution of the state law claims required examining the plan to determine Sears’ obligations as plan administrator and making determinations on how Sears performed in its administration of the plan.  In so ruling, the Court rejected plaintiff’s argument that his claims were not preempted because he only challenged Sears’ actions prior to the denial of benefits, i.e., the deduction of premiums from his pay and informing him that he had coverage, as a “distinction without a difference.”  The case is Prince v. Sears Holdings Corp., No. 16-1075 (4th Cir. Jan. 27, 2017).

© 2021 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume VII, Number 34
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About this Author

Tulio D. Chirinos, Labor, Employment, Attorney, Proskauer, Law firm
Associate

Tulio D. Chirinos is an Associate in the Labor & Employment Department, and a member of the Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation, and ERISA Litigation Practice Center, resident in the New Orleans office.

Tulio works on a wide variety of employment law and benefit matters, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, ERISA breach of fiduciary duty claims, and ERISA benefits claims. He is also a contributing author to Chapter 20 of the fifth edition of BNA’s ERISA Litigation treatise, which will be published in 2014. Prior to joining...

504-310-2048
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