U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Case Status


Docket Number



Case Updates

Second Circuit vacates interpretation of ERISA plans

December 23, 2013

The Second Circuit vacated the district court’s decision and remanded the case.

U.S. Chamber urges Second Circuit to affirm deference to a plan administrator's reasonable construction of ambiguous pension plan provisions

July 26, 2012

NCLC urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to re-affirm the longstanding principle that courts should defer to plan administrators’ reasonable construction of ambiguous terms in ERISA plans. In this case, the plaintiffs and the Department of Labor argued that courts should consider plan participants’ “reasonable expectations” about the meaning of ambiguous terms, rather than defer to plan administrators’ reasonable interpretation of such terms.

NCLC’s amicus brief argued that the plaintiffs’ and DOL’s approach would encourage needless litigation over the interpretation and application of ERISA plans, which would destroy the uniformity upon which ERISA plans depend, and undermine the economic efficiency and social benefits of maintaining ERISA benefit plans. Indeed, this very case has now been to the Second Circuit three times and to the U.S. Supreme Court once. The costs and uncertainty that flow from the plaintiffs’ legal theory would harm plan sponsors and beneficiaries alike.

Case Documents