- January 22nd, 2018
The Carpenter Tech. Corp. v. Weida, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5559, 2018 WL 398297 case provides a great analysis as to the specifically identifiable fund requirement of the Sereboff line of cases; and when that fund is destroyed by "dissipation" under the Montanile case.
This case is a very well-written, and very specific, District Court decision. Consequently, I would recommend, before blindly distributing funds based on Montanile and this case, to consult your state's ethics rules regarding notification to a third-party claim holder to a fund which you possess. Here, the plan was notified of intent to distribute, but it waited nine months to file the action.
- January 19th, 2016
The Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion today in Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan, 577 U.S. ___ (2016). This ERISA reimbursement case was decided on the issue of whether or not dissipation of settlement funds by the plan participant defeated a plan's claim for equitable relief under §502(a)(3). In an eight-to-one decision by the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas held that when a plan participant dissipates settlement funds on non-traceable assets, which would otherwise be subject to an equitable lien by agreement, the plan is not permitted to assert a claim against the participant's general assets.
This case resolved a split among the Circuits, which were in disagreement over whether an equitable lien by agreement could be enforced when the person has dissipated the fund to which the lien attached.
- November 17th, 2015
SCOTUS Discusses Attorney Liability in Self-Funded ERISA Cases: A Sneak Peek into the Mindset of the Justices in Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan
Last Monday, November 9, 2015, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments on whether dissipation of settlement funds would defeat recovery of a purported equitable lien by a self-funded ERISA plan in the matter of Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan, No. 14-723. The oral arguments gave some insight into the Justices’ thinking regarding lawyer liability in this setting.
This case will ultimately turn on the Justices’ determination as to when an “equitable lien by agreement” attaches, and therefore whether dissipation of the settlement funds defeats a lien claimed by a self-funded ERISA plan.