Trends in ERISA Litigation

pension_litigation_dataBrightScope has received a bunch of anecdotal evidence about the rise in ERISA litigation, but as a data and analytics company we much prefer real data over hearsay.  Susan Mangiero has endeavored to provide the marketplace with real analytics about ERISA litigation.  Yesterday, Pension Governance and the Michel-Shaked Group released their “ERISA Litigation Study” highlighting the major trends in ERISA litigation.  Their introduction:

ERISA litigation statistics over the last several years reflect a larger number of cases being filed, along with greater complexity of complaints in search of resolution. Unlike more established areas of dispute, experts offer that inconsistencies in adjudication across courts for pension-related lawsuits often make it difficult to know how a trier of fact will decide on any particular case.  Multiple persons can be materially impacted by a single fiduciary failure, thereby raising the stakes for both participants and the plan’s sponsor.  New and copious regulations, significant market volatility and changing demographics are a few of the other realities that challenge pension fiduciaries.

What are the major trends?

  1. 100% of ERISA cases involve allegations of a fiduciary breach.
  2. 50% of ERISA cases are disposed of with motions to dismiss/ motions for summary judgment.
  3. Only 3% of ERISA cases are disposed of at trial.
  4. From 2007 to 2008 the volume of ERISA cases increased by roughly 20%.

You can find a link to the study over at Susan Mangiero’s blog Pension Risk Matters, or you can navigate there directly through this link.