U.S. Third Circuit - The FindLaw 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Shook v. Avaya Inc., 09-4043

Summary judgment for employer in plaintiffs' suit alleging violation of ERISA affirmed

Shook v. Avaya Inc., 09-4043, concerned a husband and wife's suit against husband's former employer alleging a violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), claiming that the employer breached its fiduciary duty owed to them as participant and beneficiary under the employer pension plan through a series of misleading letters regarding the husband's pension benefits.

In affirming the district court's grant of employer's motion for summary judgment, on partly different grounds, the court held that neither the husband, as a participant, nor the wife, as a beneficiary, can establish a breach of fiduciary duty claim when the alleged reliance stems from the decision that the wife, a non-employee, should retire.

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