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From Roger Baron: Penalties may be assessed from non-production of ASA, Request by Counsel for participant upon counsel for Plan authorized under ERISA

Reprinted with Permission from Roger Baron

In Grant v. Eaton, S.D.Miss, Civil Action No. 3:10CV164TSL-FKB, handed down 2/6/13, the Court held that, depending upon the context of the dispute, an Administrative Services Agreement between a plan and a claims administrator may fall within the purview of a document request under ERISA 29 U.S.C. § 1024(b)(4), with non-compliance subject to the penalty assessment authorized under ERISA 29 U.S.C. § 1132(c).  This opinion also holds that ERISA permits a document request to be made by plan participant’s counsel in a letter directed to counsel for the plan administrator.  In connection with this issue, the Court stated,

Defendant next appears to object that there was no proper request for documents under § 1024(b)(4) both because the request was made not by plaintiff herself but by her counsel, who is neither a participant or beneficiary under the Plan, and because the request was directed to counsel for the Plan Administrator rather than the Plan Administrator. The request by plaintiff’s counsel on her behalf, if properly directed, is covered by § 1024(b)(4). 

AND

Furthermore, the court finds unpersuasive defendant’s apparent contention that a request for documents directed to counsel for a plan administrator cannot be a proper request under § 1024(b)(4).

Click HERE to view the opinion.

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