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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

SCOTUS to Review ERISA Time Limits in 401k Case

(CN) - The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to decide whether Edison International employees can pursue older claims that the utility had mismanaged their pensions.

Glenn Tibble leads a group of current and former Edison employees claiming that under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), their retirement plans had been recklessly managed through the inclusion of expensive retail-class mutual funds and other risky investment vehicles.

A federal judge dismissed the bulk of the employees' claims for being outside the six-year statute of limitations allowed by ERISA. The court did, however, agree that Edison should have investigated wiser, institutional investments before going with the retail-class mutual funds and awarded the employees $370,000.

A panel for the 9th Circuit upheld the lower court decision, finding that ERISA starts the statute of limitations clock when a company decides to include an investment vehicle in its plan. If the employees know about the inclusion, the clock runs for three years and if - as in this case - they are unaware until later, the six-year limit applies, the appeals court held.

On Thursday, the high court said it would take up exactly when the statute of limitations for fiduciary breach actions under ERISA begins - and how long that clock runs - in its upcoming session.

A decision is expected next year.

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