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 ofmost Americans, but it is significant. On the one hand it limitsthe right of pension plan participants to sue plans; on the other, itprotects fiduciaries from frivolous lawsuits. And no matter whichside of the courtroom you're on, it will have an effect on futurelitigation.

"Fiduciary breach claims brought by participants in definedbenefit pension plans will likely not be viable unless possibly theplan is severely underfunded, the plan is at or near terminationand benefits payable are or will be less than amount guaranteed bythe Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation," said PaulHastings partner Eric Heller. Heller is a member ofthe firm's Global Compensation, Benefits, and ERISA practice groupand the Employment Law practice group.

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