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Posts in ERISA.
By Lauren Daming, Katherine Fechte, Lauren Harris, Camille Toney, Audrie Howard on February 8, 2018 at 2:50 PM

"2017" and "2018" written on metal wheelsThe federal employment law landscape saw some interesting developments in 2017, as well as some anticipated changes that were ultimately halted or delayed. Below is a summary of major federal employment law headlines and a look at what employers can expect in 2018.

For Missouri and Illinois employers specifically, a review of 2017 updates and a look forward at 2018 can be found here.

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By Amy Blaisdell, Camille Toney on January 12, 2018 at 4:15 PM

Words "NEW RULES" spelled out with block letters on a table.In a surprising move, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that the Final Rule, changing the claims procedure for ERISA- governed disability plans, will become effective on April 1, 2018. The DOL previously delayed the Jan. 1, 2018 effective date to allow additional time for comments and data submissions and to give the DOL time to amend or rescind the Final Rule. In a press statement released on Jan. 5, 2018, the DOL stated that while it received numerous complaints about the New Rule, only a few of them provided substantive criticism. 

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By Amy Blaisdell, Camille Toney on October 12, 2017 at 4:17 PM

Word "delay" written on a clockTaking a page from the fiduciary rule playbook, today the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a 90-day delay of the implementation of the amended ERISA claims procedure rule for employer-sponsored disability plans (“Final Rule”). The Final Rule was scheduled to take effect for ERISA disability benefits claims on January 1, 2018. The proposed delay would postpone the Final Rule’s application to April 1, 2018, giving the DOL time to decide whether to amend, modify or rescind the Final Rule.

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By Amy Blaisdell, Heather Mehta on January 18, 2017 at 3:40 PM

Supreme Court buildingThe U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 17 ended a yearlong legal challenge to the enforceability of a forum selection clause in an ERISA-governed benefit plan, when the court denied the plaintiff’s petition for writ of certiorari. The case is Clause v. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 719 (Jan. 17, 2017).

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By Lauren Daming on January 13, 2016 at 12:27 PM

On Jan. 11, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to accept review of Smith v. Aegon Companies Pension Plan, a case in which the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit found forum selection clauses in ERISA plans to be valid and enforceable. The holding of the Sixth Circuit, the only court of appeals to have considered this issue, allows ERISA plan sponsors to designate the federal courts in which their participants may bring claims arising under ERISA. Plan sponsors, particularly those with participants scattered throughout multiple states, often favor this approach because it brings uniformity to the treatment of their plans.

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By Lucie Huger, Douglas Neville on February 19, 2015 at 6:00 PM

DataBreach_iStock_000035838862LargeOn February 5, 2015, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (“Anthem”) announced that it was the target of a cyber attack that resulted in unauthorized access to Anthem’s IT system. As a result, certain personal information of Anthem’s current and former members may have been compromised. Information that may have been subject to compromise includes member (and former member): names, birthdays, medical IDs/social security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information (including income data). In subsequent media coverage, it has been reported that up to 80 million individuals may have been impacted. It was also reported that information going back to the year 2004 may have been subject to the breach.

It is believed that the Anthem breach is the largest breach involving health information to date.

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By Amy Blaisdell on October 13, 2014 at 3:52 PM

j0399041In the last few months, several court decisions have found large classes of workers to be improperly classified as independent contractors rather than employees. These class action cases are filed in federal and state courts throughout the country seeking the payment of minimum wage, overtime, penalties, attorneys’ fees, employee benefits and expenses, among other damages. Although FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. has been at the heart of several recent decisions, the issue is not isolated to FedEx nor to delivery drivers. Rather, a survey of recent cases and agency actions makes it clear that the judiciary, Internal Revenue Service, United States Department of Labor, and state agencies are all looking with exacting scrutiny at independent contractor relationships and are erring on the side of finding workers to be employees. Consequently, all companies that use independent contractors – regardless of their size – should think about the impact of the emerging cases on their workforces.

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By Kathi Chestnut on December 26, 2013 at 7:15 PM

Hourglass isolated on white backgroundOn December 16, 2013, the United States Supreme Court held that an employer sponsored disability plan with a provision requiring a plan participant to file suit within three (3) years after filing a written proof of loss under the plan is enforceable under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The decision by the Court in Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., No. 12-729, resolved a deep split among the federal Courts of Appeals regarding the enforceability of such limitation provisions.

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