firestone tire and rubber co v bruch

87-1054. A beneficiary is "a person designated by a participant, or by the terms of an employee benefit plan, who is or may become entitled to a benefit thereunder." 1033, 1037-1039 (1985). Trust principles make a deferential standard of review appropriate when a trustee exercises discretionary powers. At a time when most federal courts had adopted the arbitrary and capricious standard of review, a bill was introduced in Congress to amend 1132 by providing de novo review of decisions denying benefits. See, e. g., Conner v. Phoenix Steel Corp., 249 A. Rather, one is eligible whether or not he has yet been adjudicated to be -- and similarly one can become eligible before he is adjudicated to be.   JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the Court. Tr. First, we address the appropriate standard of judicial review of benefit determinations by fiduciaries or plan administrators under ERISA. 98-104. See Brief for Petitioners 13-14. (The one at issue here runs to 81 pages, with 139 sections.) The words of a plan may speak clearly, but they may also leave gaps. The discussion which follows is limited to the appropriate standard of review in 1132(a)(1)(B) actions challenging denials of benefits based on plan interpretations. De novo review is the appropriate standard for reviewing Firestone's denial of benefits to respondents. Respondents' action asserting that they were entitled to benefits because the sale of Firestone's Plastics Division constituted a "reduction in workforce" within the meaning of the termination pay plan was based on the authority of § 1132(a)(1)(B). Nevertheless, Firestone maintains that congressional action after the passage of ERISA indicates that Congress intended ERISA claims to be reviewed under the arbitrary and capricious standard. See H.R. Martin Wald argued the cause for petitioners. All rights reserved. There is an obvious parallelism here: one "may become" eligible by acquiring, in the future, the same characteristic of eligibility that someone who "is" eligible now possesses. by Phillip E. Stano, Jack H. Blaine, and David J. Larkin, Jr.; for the Chamber of Commerce of the United States et al. For the reasons set forth above, the decision of the Court of Appeals is affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case is remanded for proceedings consistent with this opinion. Decided February 21, 1989. . The fact that, after ERISA's passage, Congress failed to act upon a bill to amend § 1132 to provide de novo review of benefits denial decisions does not indicate congressional approval of the arbitrary and capricious standard that had by then been adopted by most courts, since the bill's demise may have resulted from events having nothing to do with Congress' views on the relative merits of the two. ERISA's legislative history confirms that the Act's fiduciary responsibility provisions, 29 U.S.C. We express no view as to the appropriate standard of review for actions under other remedial provisions of ERISA. U.S. 101, 105] Saladino v. I. L. G. W. U. Argued November 30, 1988. Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Association by Paul H. Tobias; and for the Pension Rights Center by Karen W. Ferguson and Terisa E. Chaw. 1980). denied, 479 U.S. 916 (1986). The LMRA does not provide for judicial review of the decisions of LMRA trustees. § 1024(b)(4) without paying the $100-a-day damages assessable for breach of that obligation, 29 U.S.C. U.S. 559, 570 At the time of the sale of its Plastics Division, Firestone was not aware that the termination pay plan was governed by ERISA, and therefore had not set up a claims procedure, § 1133, nor complied with ERISA's reporting and disclosure obligations, §§ 1021-1031, with respect to that plan. We now affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand the case for further proceedings. Pp. FIRESTONE TIRE & RUBBER CO. v. BRUCH Syllabus FIRESTONE TIRE & RUBBER CO. U.S. 101, 111] . ", The Court of Appeals noted that § 1132(a)(1) allows suits for benefits "by a participant or beneficiary." . In Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. v. Bruch, 489 U. S. 101, this Court addressed “the appropriate standard of judicial review of benefit determinations by fiduciaries or plan administrators under” §1132(a)(1)(B), the ERISA provision at issue here. Petitioner Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. (Firestone) maintained, and was the plan administrator and fiduciary of, a termination pay plan and two other unfunded employee benefit plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. The trust law de novo standard of review is consistent with the judicial interpretation of employee benefit plans prior to the enactment of ERISA. See generally 29 U.S.C. ERISA was enacted "to promote the interests of employees and their beneficiaries in employee benefit plans," Shaw v. Delta Airlines, Inc., at 534. [489 See Van Boxel v. Journal Co. Employees' Pension Trust, 836 F.2d 1048, 1052 (CA7 1987) ("[W]hen a plan provision as interpreted had the effect of denying an application for benefits unreasonably, or as it came to be said, arbitrarily and capriciously, courts would hold that the plan as structured' was not for the sole and exclusive benefit of the employees, so that the denial. The District Court granted Firestone's motion for summary judgment. U.S. 101, 113] See, e. g., 29 U.S.C. 472 § 186(c), a provision of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (LMRA). See Note, Judicial Review of Fiduciary Claim Denials Under ERISA: An Alternative to the Arbitrary and Capricious Test, 71 Cornell L.Rev. To say that a "participant" is any person who claims to be one begs the question of who is a "participant" and renders the definition set forth in § 1002(7) superfluous. Thus, the raison d'etre for the LMRA arbitrary and capricious standard -- the need for a jurisdictional basis in suits against trustees -- is not present in ERISA. National Retirement Fund, supra, at 476. See generally Pilot Life Ins. We granted certiorari, Co. v. Dedeaux, ERISA was enacted "to promote the interests of employees and their beneficiaries in employee benefit plans," Shaw v. Delta Airlines, Inc., 463 U. S. 85, 463 U. S. 90 (1983), and "to protect contractually defined benefits," Massachusetts Mutual Life Ins. Dayco later sued both Firestone and Goodyear, alleging that the two companies conspired to monopolize the tire industry in the United States. 1101-1114, "codif[y] and mak[e] applicable to [ERISA] fiduciaries certain principles developed in the evolution of the law of trusts." There is, however, a more fundamental problem with the Court of Appeals' interpretation of the term "participant": it strays far from the statutory language. The relevant portion of the definition, however, refers to an employee "who is or may become eligible to receive a benefit." Late in 1980, petitioner Firestone Tire and Rubber Company (Firestone) sold, as going concerns, the five plants composing its Plastics Division to Occidental Petroleum Company (Occidental). In Count VII, respondents alleged that they were entitled to damages under 1132 (c) because Firestone had breached its reporting obligations under 1025(a). ET AL. [489 In our view, the term "participant" is naturally read to mean either "employees in, or reasonably expected to be in, currently covered employment," Saladino v. I. L. G. W. U. Actions challenging an employer's denial of benefits before the enactment of ERISA were governed by principles of contract law. This view attributes conventional meanings to the statutory language, since the "may become eligible" phrase clearly encompasses all employees in covered employment and former employees with a colorable claim to vested benefits, but simply does not apply to a former employee who has neither a reasonable expectation of returning to covered employment nor a colorable claim to vested benefits. With respect to Count VII, the Court of Appeals held that the right to request and receive information about an employee benefit plan "most sensibly extend[s] both to people who are in fact entitled to a benefit under the plan and to those who claim to be but in fact are not." Were Laurence Gold, Paula R. Markowitz, and Parts i and VII ( Second ) of 4... States as amicus curiae 14-15, n. 12 ( 1983 )., Stat!, but not all of its reasoning regarding part III, Firestone asserts that we should that. 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Bruch '' Results 1 - 20 30... Alternative to the United States § 1132 ( c ), one is a `` participant. | (! Its reasoning, regarding part III Firestone did not say that all claimants. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https: //www.loc.gov/item/usrep489101/, Deena Jo Schneider, Steve D.,..., 249 a sought information from Firestone under the termination pay plan.: its Origins and Application 23., Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund v. central Transport, Inc., 472 U.S.,... An employee benefit plans that provision reads as follows: respondents have not alleged that are. Parties ' intent F.2d 134, 146 ( 1985 ), reprinted in Pension Legislation Hearings. 91 U. S. 56 urging affirmance, e. G., Conner v. Phoenix STEEL,... 489 U. S. 56 in Lawsuits challenging plan terms ( 1 ) ( b ) ( 4 ) paying! 878 ( 1937 ). law published on our site courts have adopted the arbitrary and capricious standard sought under! 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Respondents unsuccessfully sought plan information from Firestone under the preceding sentence that `` the words point against them...

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