Allen v. Wells Fargo & Co., No. 18-2781 (8th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's order dismissing plaintiffs' second amended complaint brought under sections 409 and 502 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), against Wells Fargo and fiduciaries of Wells Fargo's 401(k) plan. This appeal arose out of the unauthorized-accounts scandal at Wells Fargo where Wells Fargo pressured and induced thousands of its employees to engage in widespread unlawful and unethical sales practices.
The court held that the district court did not err in finding that plaintiffs have failed to plausibly plead that a prudent fiduciary in defendants' position could not have concluded that earlier disclosure of negative information would do more harm than good to the fund. The court also held that the district court did not err in holding that plaintiffs have failed to sufficiently plead a claim of breach of the duty of loyalty. In this case, neither of plaintiffs' claims for failure to disclose material information to plan participants about Wells Fargo's sale practices and conflicts of interests and actions of self-interest sufficiently alleged a plausible inference that defendants breached their duty.