Acosta v. Brain, No. 16-56529 (9th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Scott Brain, a former trustee of the Trust Funds, and the Cook Defendants appealed the district court's entry of judgment against them in a civil enforcement action by the Secretary of the Department of Labor for violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and held that the district court did not err in concluding that Brain violated ERISA section 510 by retaliating against a whistleblower. The panel vacated and reversed in part and held that the district court erred in concluding that Brain breached his fiduciary duty in violation of ERISA section 404 by placing the whistleblower on administrative leave. The panel also held that the district court erred in basing the permanent injunction on ERISA section 409; ERISA section 502(a)(5) did not provide an alternative basis for the district court's permanent injunction; the district court did not err in determining that the Cook Defendants were not immune under the attorney immunity doctrine; and the Cook Defendants' remaining arguments were meritless.