Labor & Employment

Are ERISA Cases the Next Frontier in the Ever-Expanding Realm of Arbitration? The Implications of Munro v. University of Southern California in the Ninth Circuit

In a legal landscape that has resoundingly embraced arbitration, a recent Ninth Circuit case stands out for applying the breaks to binding arbitration in an ERISA matter. In Munro v. University of Southern California, 2018 WL 3542996 (9th Cir. July 24, 2018), the court found that employees pursuing a putative class action lawsuit for breaches of fiduciary duty related to their retirement plans under ERISA Section 502(a)(2) could not be compelled to arbitrate the dispute, even though their employment agreements included arbitration agreements.

Labor & Employment

The Impact of External Reviews on Discretion in ERISA Health Litigation

The uptick in external medical reviews for ERISA health claims has potential consequences when plan administrators seek to assert a discretionary standard of review in federal court. The Affordable Care Act has increased the usage of the federal external review process, in addition to state external review programs. As the final, and optional, appeal opportunity, external reviews make medical necessity decisions which are binding on ERISA administrators. In doing so, the external reviews may result in ERISA administrators relinquishing discretionary authority over health claims.