News Brief

Brisbin, Rhodes, Passalacqua Prevail on Motion to Dismiss ERISA Class Action in Northern District of California

July 15, 2019

Michael Brisbin (Partner-San Francisco), Dennis Rhodes (Of Counsel-San Francisco) and Lisa Passalacqua (Of Counsel-San Francisco) represented an ERISA plan administrator in an action brought by a purported class of plaintiffs claiming breach of fiduciary duty. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants – including the trustees, the plan administrators, the Plan, the insurance company selling the annuities, and the agent who sold the annuities – breached their fiduciary duties by selling unsuitable annuities to the Plan to the detriment of the plaintiffs. The team was able to persuade the district judge that because the clients performed purely ministerial tasks, they did not qualify as ERISA fiduciaries under the federal common law of ERISA, and hence were not liable to the plaintiffs. The court granted the plaintiffs leave to amend the original and first amended complaints following two successful motions to dismiss. Although the court granted the third motion to dismiss the second amended complaint with leave to amend, the plaintiff finally understood the bases for including the clients in the action were without merit, resulting in the plaintiffs’ voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit plaintiffs filed against our clients. 

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