Darkness at Noon: Judicial Interpretation May Have Made Things Worse for Benefit Plan Participants Under ERISA than had the Statute Never Been Enacted
St. Thomas Law Review, Vol. 23, p. 101, 2011
24 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2010 Last revised: 11 Apr 2011
Date Written: April 4, 2010
The author argues that judicial decisions under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 have been so constrictive and anti-employee, over such a long time, that it can now be said that participants in employer-sponsored pension and health insurance plans would have been better off, on balance, if the statute had never been enacted. Given that the Act’s stated purpose was to protect benefit plan participants, this is a surprising conclusion to have to reach. Nonetheless the argument is strong, and is validated in part by the thousands of cases that have accumulated in which plan participants/plaintiffs have been forced to argue ERISA does not apply to their claims, as a precondition to salvaging those claims.
Keywords: ERISA, Employee Benefits, Plans, Pension, Retirement, Health Insurance, Jurisprudence, Firestone
JEL Classification: I18, J26, J32, J38, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation