Fall 2014 | Employee Benefits Committee Newsletter

As We Go to e-Press: A Few Items from the Editors of the EBC Newsletter

As is the custom, the editors have identified a few recent items worthy of mention but perhaps not extensive discourse. That does not mean these developments are unimportant but rather that they are, to a large degree, self-explanatory or both too important and too new to address fully. It is also the case for those in "Well, what about . . . .?" mode that our criteria for inclusion are relatively loose and we make no effort to track every development across the spectrum of concerns covered by JCEB in real time. We are; however, very interested in what interests you so please let us know what we left out and whether you know someone who might be interested in developing the omitted item for later article treatment. In that spirit we offer the following for consideration:

  • For those keeping score on cases decided after the same day/opposite holding decisions in Halbig v. Burwell and King v. Burwell regarding availability of tax credits in the federal exchanges, the District of Oklahoma followed Halbig in Oklahoma v. Burwell, 114 AFTR 2d ¶2014-5305. We shall see more discussion of these decisions in future issues,
  • A California Bankruptcy Court preliminarily ruled that the City of Stockton's CalPERS contribution may not be immune from being set aside in a Chapter 9 Bankruptcy. To quote Judge Klein, "My conclusion is that the city's contract with CalPERS could be [impaired], notwithstanding the California legislature saying otherwise. Revising the Bankruptcy Code is simply beyond the authority of the California legislature." Actual consideration of the City's plan was deferred,
  • IRS issued Notice 2014-55 allowing for some limited change in Section 125 Plan elections made in response to workplace changes and participant decisions anticipating full implementation of the PPACA,
  • IRS also issued Notice 2014-40 addressing the challenge of identification of Full-Time Employee in situations where the measurement period for the employee changes, and
  • The Supreme Court granted certiorari in a Ninth Circuit case Tibble v Edison International Docket No. 13-550 and limited review to the following question:

"Whether a claim that ERISA plan fiduciaries breached their duty of prudence by offering higher-cost retail-class mutual funds to plan participants, even though identical lower-cost institution-class mutual funds were available, is barred by 29 U. S. C. §1113(1) when fiduciaries initially chose the higher-cost mutual funds as plan investments more than six years before the claim was filed."

  • The Supreme Court declined to grant certiorari in several same-sex marriage ban cases that arose from a variety of states. There is no truth to the rumor that a multi-voiced a cappella version of the Styx classic "Too Much Time on My Hands" was heard emanating from behind the curtain before the Justices took the bench.