Outside Publication

Another Chapter in Tibble v. Edison International – Ninth Circuit’s En Banc Decision, CA Labor & Employment Bulletin

April 2017

In 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals revisited its 2013 decision in Tibble v. Edison International, which held that an ERISA fiduciary has an ongoing duty to monitor plan investments, and that allegations of a breach of this duty may give rise to a timely claim even when a challenge to the fiduciary’s initial selection of that same investment would be barred by ERISA’s six-year statute of repose.

The Ninth Circuit revisited its 2013 decision both as a panel and en banc, after the United States Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case on the issues of forfeiture and the scope of a plan sponsor’s fiduciary duty. The Ninth Circuit panel held that the beneficiaries had forfeited their claims and affirmed the district court’s original opinion. Then the Ninth Circuit reviewed the decision en banc. It reversed the panel’s decision and held that Plaintiffs’ breach of fiduciary duty claims were not barred by ERISA’s six-year limitations period - even though the plan fiduciary selected the subject investments more than six years before Plaintiffs filed suit. The Ninth Circuit remanded the case to the district court for trial to determine the scope of the plan sponsor’s duty to its beneficiaries.

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