Congress did not provide a statute of limitations for Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) claims, so federal courts typically adopt the forum state’s analogous limitations period. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held that an ERISA plan’s contractual limitations period will be enforced, if reasonable, and may even begin before the claimant’s cause of action accrues. Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co, 134 S.Ct. 604 (2013).
Last month, the First Circuit Court of Appeals helped balance the playing field for plan participants, holding that an ERISA insurer must advise a claimant of the policy’s limitations period before it will be enforced. Santana-Diaz v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., --- F. 3d ---, 2016 WL 963830 (1st Cir. Mar. 14, 2016).