Monthly Archives: April, 2012

From Roger Baron: “unclean hands” is equitable defense to claim under ERISA § 1132(a)(3) according to Oregon Federal Court

In Ayers v. LINA, No. 6:08-cv-06287-AA, (D.Or. April 19, 2012), the court was adjudicating a dispute over LTD benefits under ERISA coverage.   The court held “LINA cannot recover any overpaid amounts pursuant to 1132(a)(3) if Ayers can demonstrate that it was acting with unclean hands.”  As to whether or not “unclean hands” exists, the court holds that there is a “genuine issue of material fact,” overruling both parties’ motions for summary judgment on the counterclaim. 

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From Roger Baron: “hardship” to participant warrants denial of equitable relief to ERISA plan seeking § 502(a)(3)(B) relief

Reprinted with Permission from Roger Baron

The case of Longuski v. Iron Workers’ Local No. 24, 2012 W.L. 1247172 (E.D.Mich. April 13, 2012) involves a dispute over a disability pension benefit. The ERISA plan asserted a counterclaim under ERISA § 502(a)(3)(B) for “appropriate equitable relief.” The plan sought enforcement of an equitable lien for $95,980 which the plan alleged was mistakenly paid to Longuski. This court denies the counterclaim holding, inter alia, that “it would be inequitable to order Plaintiff to pay $97,980.00 to reimburse the Plan for the mistake it made in paying benefits in the first place.”

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From Roger Baron: 5th Circuit rules in favor of ERISA beneficiary and his wife where funds are in a structured settlement

Reprinted with Permission from Roger Baron

The 5th Circuit handed down ACS Recovery Services, Inc. v. Griffin today, April 2, 2012.  Mr. Griffin was seriously injured in an auto accident. The ERISA plan paid medical bills of $50,076.19.  The plaintiff’s attorney secured a settlement of $294,439.82 and arranged for a structured settlement annuity “in an effort to avoid any equitable lien assertion” by the ERISA Plan.  Mrs. Griffin received $40,000 for loss of consortium.  The ERISA plan sued Mr. Griffin and his wife, as well as the trustee and the trust designated to receive the annuity payments.  The trial court “dismissed the claims against all of the defendants.”  This decision by the 5th Circuit affirms that dismissal.

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