ERISA-Ninth Circuit Rules That Parties To An ERISA Suit Are Not Required To Arbitrate

In Munro v. University of Southern California, Docket No. 17-55550 (9th Cir. 2018), a panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (the “Panel”) affirmed the district court’s denial of defendants’ motion to compel arbitration of collective claims for breach of fiduciary duty in the administration of two ERISA plans.

The plaintiffs, current and former employees of the University of Southern California, and participants in the two ERISA plans, were required to sign arbitration agreements as part of their employment contracts.  The Panel concluded that the dispute fell outside the scope of the arbitration agreements because the parties consented only to arbitrate claims brought on their own behalf, and the employees’ claims were brought on behalf of the ERISA plans.

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