Northwestern case won’t help bad ERISA litigators

In Hughes v Northwestern, a unanimous Supreme Court held that the Seventh Circuit erred by holding that a plaintiff can’t state a plausible claim against plan fiduciaries based on the inclusion of a few imprudent investment options if the investment lineup offered to plan participants is diverse and contains prudent investment options.

It’s a win for plaintiffs and ERISA litigators as the Supreme Court didn’t curtail a participant’s right to sue in Federal Court. However, the case did nothing in setting pleading standards, so it will still invite sloppy ERISA litigators who just show a plan is expensive without showing how that’s an actual breach of fiduciary duty.

So expect more fee litigation cases and more fee litigation dismissals.

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