ERISA-Eleventh Circuit Remands A Case To Determine The Remedies Available In Light of CIGNA Corp. v. Amara

In Rosario v. King & Prince Seafood Corporation, Nos. 10-11967, 10-12104 (11th Cir. 2011) (Unpublished Opinion), the Eleventh Circuit Court (the “Court”) agreed with a district court’s decision to reject the plaintiff’s claims under section 502(a)(1)(B) of ERISA (which generally allows a participant to sue for benefits) . However, the Court remanded the case back to the district court to determine whether a remedy exists under section 502(a)(3) of ERISA (which generally allows equitable relief), in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Cigna Corp. v. Amara (“Amara”).

The Court did not indicate what language in Amara influenced its decision to remand this case. The Court said only that Amara, issued after the district court’s decision in this case, has provided more guidance with respect to the interpretation of section 502(a)(3). The issue in this case revolved around whether the fiduciaries of an ESOP had breached their fiduciary duties by providing participants with incorrect and untimely notices and election forms pertaining to their ESOP benefits, leading to a violation of the “consent rule” under the Code and ERISA (requiring a plan to obtain a participant’s timely consent to a benefit payout). Presumably, it is this breach of fiduciary duty that might be remedied under section 502(a)(3), as interpreted by Amara.

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