Civil Procedure

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Reimagining ERISA Civil Procedure

Claimants seeking benefits brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) have been authorized to bring a “civil action” to seek redress. Although the term “civil action” is supposed to have identical meaning under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure regardless of the type of claim being brought, ERISA claim litigation differs dramatically from ordinary civil procedure. […]

6th Circ. Ruling Offers Fresh Look at ERISA Exhaustion

Is exhaustion of administrative remedies in challenging Employee Retirement Income Security Act-governed benefit denials required as a precondition to filing a lawsuit? A concurring opinion in Wallace v. Oakwood Healthcare Inc.[1] by U.S. Circuit Judge Amul Thapar of the Sixth Circuit raises provocative questions about the administrative exhaustion doctrine in ERISA cases and suggests that other […]

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 […]