May 20, 2011

Supreme Court Finds that Damages May be Available for a Misleading Retirement Plan Summary Description

Summary: In a potentially far-reaching decision that contained elements of victory for both plan sponsors and plan participants, a unanimous Supreme Court has reversed and remanded a district court decision that a misleading summary plan description (“SPD”) or other communications to participants can be the basis for reforming a retirement plan to mirror the terms of the SPD. CIGNA Corp. v. Arama, No. 09-804, (2011).

The attached Client Alert examines the Court’s decision and the finding that equitable relief, including money damages, may be available under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 for such misleading communications.

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