Looks like those hoping for some clarity on a threshold issue involving ERISA fee litigation will have to wait for another day.
I’m referring, of course, to last week’s ruling by the Supreme Court on the case of Hughes v. Northwestern University et al.—a case that the law firm of Schlichter Bogard & Denton—which seems to have “invented” this class of excessive fee litigation—said was having a “chilling effect” on this type of lawsuit, more precisely their ability to proceed to trial (or settlement). Consequently, ERISA fiduciaries were waiting anxiously for a ruling on the case, which involved allegations that Northwestern University had failed to comply with its fiduciary responsibilities with regard to the options available to plan participants.
Indeed, the allegations in this case weren’t all that different from the litany transgressions outlined in any number of such cases over the years—but in making their case to be heard by the nation’s highest court the plaintiffs’ attorneys (the aforementioned law firm)—had noted (complained?) that suits “with virtually identical” claims were being dismissed out of hand, while other courts were allowing them to go to trial. This they claimed was “…not a factual disagreement about whether the specific allegations at issue clear the pleading hurdle,” but rather “a legal disagreement about where that hurdle should be set.”
Consequently. some clarity as to how, and how much, must be established by those who file the suits before they get to take the issue(s) to trial is timely, to say the least. Or, said another way, how much is “enough.”
Rather, the court had merely determined that there were some prudent alternatives on the menu, and that the participants could choose them if they had an issue with those that (allegedly) weren’t as expensive and that, for that district court, was enough.
Author(s): Nevin E Adams, JD
Publication Date: 3 Feb 2022
Publication Site: ASPPA
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider the appeal of Northwestern University employees who say the university mismanaged their 403(b) pension investments. The lawsuit against Northwestern was one of roughly 20 filed in 2016 charging that wealthy and prestigious universities failed to fulfill their fiduciary duty by charging unreasonable fees and offering too many investment options.
Lower federal courts sided with Northwestern in dismissing the employees’ claims, but in their appeal to the Supreme Court, lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that the federal appeals courts had issued divided rulings on key questions in similar lawsuits.
Author(s): Doug Lederman
Publication Date: 6 July 2021
Publication Site: Inside Higher Ed
New Hampshire and Massachusetts are fighting over whether the Bay State still has the right to tax the incomes of 103,000 former commuters now working from home in New Hampshire. But this tax spat deals with issues that spread far beyond the Massachusetts border — it has national implications and could impact millions of Americans.
Because of this, scores of tax organizations and states have filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Granite State. In fact, an analysis by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation estimated at least 2.1 million Americans that previously crossed state lines for work are now working from home in accordance with public health guidelines.
Author(s): Liz Farmer
Publication Date: 18 March 2021
Publication Site: Forbes
The 2018 Supreme Court decision, in South Dakota v. Wayfair, overturned prior decisions that had made it impossible for states to collect sales taxes from remote sellers. They certainly tried in different ways, but were shot down by various courts. It was the long-sought Wayfair decision, as it’s known, that opened the door for states to collect taxes on most online sales.
“Prior to the Wayfair decision, although some ecommerce sellers were going down the path of starting to collect sales tax on their sales, online sales was still a potential avenue to avoid the sales tax,” says Chuck Maniace, vice president of regulatory analysis at Sovos, a tax compliance firm.
Wayfair allows states to demand that businesses without a physical presence collect and remit taxes, assuming they make at least $100,000 worth of in-state sales. Following the decision, large states such as California and Texas have set the threshold higher, at $500,000. States differ in terms of how many in-state transactions can take place before a seller has to collect taxes (generally, about 200).
Author(s): ALAN GREENBLATT
Publication Date: 22 January 2021
Publication Site: Governing