Dismissal of ERISA Action Involving a Retirement Benefit Plan Conversion Affirmed, Plus Insurance Matter

By FindLaw Staff on May 26, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Rosenblatt v. United Way of Greater Houston, No. 09-20131, concerned an ERISA action asserting that the net effect and intent of defendant's benefit plan conversion was to shift the burden of funding the plan's deficit to older employees, like plaintiff, who had earned substantial benefits through longer service.  The Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the complaint, on the grounds that 1) in plaintiff's complaint, he disclosed neither a claim of error nor how any errors affected his retirement benefits; 2) nowhere in his complaint did plaintiff contend that defendant failed to provide him with any statements or notice of amendments to or potential reductions in his benefit accruals under the plan; and 3) plaintiff did not indicate that his previously accrued benefits had diminished in any way, only that he had not received properly calculated benefit accruals since the conversion of the plan.

Admiral Ins. Co. v. Ford, No. 09-50671, involved an action seeking a declaration that plaintiff owed defendant no duty to defend a suit arising out of a blown-out oil well.  The court of appeals reversed summary judgment for defendant, on the grounds that 1) the parties intended the legal definition of professional services to exclude coverage for professional services in any of defendant's operations; and 2) the underlying suit alleges the existence of and failure to fulfill a contract, the very subject of which was defendant's expertise in drilling operations.

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