In re: DeRogatis, No. 16-977 (2d Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff appealed the district court's summary judgment in favor of the trustees of two union-affiliated employee benefit plans on her claims for relief pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's decision denying plaintiff's claim under section 502(a)(1)(B) of ERISA against the Pension Fund for benefits due, and held that the Pension Fund trustees correctly denied plaintiff's request for an augmented survivor benefit following her husband's death. In regard to plaintiff's section 502(a)(3) claim for breach of fiduciary duty, the court rejected the district court's reasoning that a plan administrator cannot be held liable for unintentional misrepresentations made about the plan's operation by its non‐fiduciary, "ministerial" agent. The court nonetheless affirmed the district court's denial of relief under section 502(a)(3) because the Pension Plan's summary plan description (SPD) adequately described the eligibility requirements for the benefits in question and thereby satisfied the trustees' fiduciary duty to provide complete and accurate information to plan participants and beneficiaries. Therefore, the court affirmed as to Case No. 16‐3549‐cv.
The court reversed and remanded as to Case No. 16‐977‐cv, holding that there was an open question of material fact concerning whether the Welfare Fund trustees breached their fiduciary duty to provide plan participants with complete and accurate information about their benefits.