The nation's highest court may rule in Washington, D.C., on which party is responsible for proving loss causation when a dispute over the management of defined contribution benefit plans goes to court. One company currently involved in such a case appealed to the Supreme Court to settle the disparate approaches taken among federal appeals courts about who must prove losses when plan members file suit over fiduciary breaches of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which protects employee benefits from misuse or fraud.
When ERISA claims are filed in Washington, D.C., the plan fiduciaries commonly claim that the statute of limitations bars the claims. ERISA claims have a three-year statute of limitations, which means that claims must be filed within that period of time, or they will be time-barred.
Governmental agencies employ many workers in Washington D.C. These organizations generally qualify for the government exemption to operational rules for pension and benefit plans imposed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. A brewing class action lawsuit brought by a group of current and former hospital employees has challenged the health care organization's assertion that ERISA rules do not apply to its health plan because it is a governmental entity.