Civil Procedure

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What is an interpleader?

A process server comes to your door and delivers a summons, and something called a complaint for interpleader. What does that mean? How do you respond? For most people in that situation, the answer is to put the papers in a drawer and hope the matter goes away. But if you do that, you may […]

When ERISA preempts state laws for employee benefits

The subject of pre-emption under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act is challenging, as illustrated by multiple Supreme Court rulings that have attempted to address pre-emption issues. The general rule is that any state law which relates to employee benefit plans is pre-empted if the law conflicts with the administration of an ERISA claim. However, […]

Federal court argues for right to jury to pursue ERISA claims

While it’s generally accepted that Employee Retirement Income Security Act benefit claimants are not entitled to jury trials, rarely does anyone question the reason why. A recent ruling from a federal court in New York, Cunningham v. Cornell University, 2018 WL 4279466 (S.D. N.Y., Sept. 6, 2018), convincingly explains why jury trials should be permitted […]

The complexity of ERISA preemption

A recently issued appellate court decision illustrates the complexity of ERISA preemption. Williby v. Aetna Life Ins. Co, 2017 WL 3482390 (9th Cir. August 15, 2017) involves the interplay between ERISA’s preemption provision and the savings and deemer clauses found in 29 U.S.C. § 1144.The underlying matter concerned a claim for short-term disability benefits under […]

Contract clause strong enough to upend ERISA forum provisions

A recent ruling issued by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals resolved a controversial issue in Employee Retirement Income Security Act litigation: Does ERISA’s venue provision, 29 U.S.C. Section 1132(e)(2), preclude enforcement of a forum-selection clause in an employee benefits plan? The petitioner, George Mathias, the plan beneficiary, the secretary of labor, as amicus […]