Filing an ERISA lawsuit can be arduous and time-consuming, especially when a plaintiff is up against a defendant with deep pockets and legions of lawyers. So what happens when the clock runs out before all the internal parties and processes have arrived at a resolution? The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear such a case when a Wal-Mart employee sued her employer and The Hartford over a denied disability claim.

According to a report for Law360, a lower court found for The Hartford, which had denied the claim because the employee's three-year time limit for filing had run out. The plaintiff appealed, asking the Supreme Court to answer the basic question: When should the statute of limitations clock start running? 

The plaintiff's brief asserted that the clock shouldn't begin for a beneficiary seeking benefits through an employer-established ERISA plan until all internal processes have been completed and the plan has finally denied the application for benefits. The limitations period on a federal claim should begin only when a plaintiff can finally bring the claim in court.

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