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black and white image of front of Supreme Court with steps and figure standing in front (Photo: Shutterstock)

A recent Supreme Court ruling on Thole vs. US Bank passed under the radar of most Americans, but it is significant. On the one hand it limits the right of pension plan participants to sue plans; on the other, it protects fiduciaries from frivolous lawsuits. And no matter which side of the courtroom you’re on, it will have an effect on future litigation.

“Fiduciary breach claims brought by participants in defined benefit pension plans will likely not be viable unless possibly the plan is severely underfunded, the plan is at or near termination and benefits payable are or will be less than amount guaranteed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation,” said Paul Hastings partner Eric Heller. Heller is a member of the firm’s Global Compensation, Benefits, and ERISA practice group and the Employment Law practice group.

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