Academic journal article Journal of Risk and Insurance

Employer's Failure to Disclose Company's Consideration of "Voluntary Separation Program" Does Not Qualify as Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim under Erisa; Hence, Claim Does Not Arise under Erisa and Federal Court Has No Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Academic journal article Journal of Risk and Insurance

Employer's Failure to Disclose Company's Consideration of "Voluntary Separation Program" Does Not Qualify as Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim under Erisa; Hence, Claim Does Not Arise under Erisa and Federal Court Has No Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Article excerpt

Young v. Washington Gas Light Company, 306 F.3d 1200 (D.C. Cir. , 2000)

Ronald Young and other employees of Washington Gas Light retired during 1996 while restructuring of the company was under consideration but before a final plan was adopted. The company was considering adoption of a program it eventually implemented offering retirement or "voluntary separation" incentives to employees that were better than the retirement package Young received. Young and his co-plaintiffs sued under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), alleging that Washington Gas violated its duties as an ERISA fiduciary in not disclosing this to Young before his retirement. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected this claim and therefore found-because Young had not made out a claim under ERISA-that Young's claim did not "arise under" federal law. Hence, the federal courts lacked jurisdiction over the controversy and could not hear Young's complaint (although Young might have had a tort or contract claim under state law). …

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