I serve as the attorney for a registered investment advisor out on Long Island and they forwarded me an email from a plan sponsor regarding a news article from last year of a potential class action lawsuit against a well-known provider.
When I went on Google, I found many articles concerning the case including one which quoted a blog item of mine where I said that claiming that this plan provider as a fiduciary was an uphill battle. Since the articles were about a year and a half old, I took upon itself to get the docket sheet through my online Pacers account to find out what was going on with the case.
A reading of the docket and of the opinions and motions filed, the plaintiffs are on the ropes. The court denied the class action claim and the case has stalled since the plaintiffs wanted leave to amend the complaint, which the court denied. Have you seen any news articles regarding the plaintiff’s problems? Of course not.
Litigation in the 401(k) space is serious business and any aggrieved participant can sue, it just doesn’t mean that’s evidence that the provider did anything wrong Anyone can file a claim, many just don’t survive the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
News of cases gives us a clue about what’s going on in the 401(k) space, but lawsuits are based on a complaint of allegations. So while you hear news of many lawsuits, you don’t hear much when these cases fail and there have been some big failures in the 401(k) litigation space, but that news isn’t as exciting as one emanating from the press release of an ERISA litigation firms. If it bleeds, it leads.