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Legal Memorandum: Causes of Action available to Plan Participants

Issue: Under federal ERISA law, what causes of action are available to plan participants outside the breach of fiduciary duty context?

Area of Law: Employee Law
Keywords: Breach of fiduciary duty; Causes of action available; ERISA
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: 29 U.S.C. § 1025(c), § 1132(a)(3), 26 U.S.C. § 6057(a)(2); 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132(a)(4), 1025(c); 26 U.S.C. § 6057(a)(2)(A)—(E), § 6057(a)(2), (e)
Date: 05/01/2007

ERISA specifically authorizes suits for equitable relief outside the breach of fiduciary duty context.  Section 1132(a)(3) allows suits by a participant or beneficiary to enjoin any act or practice that violates any provision of ERISA or the terms of the plan, and to obtain other appropriate equitable relief to redress such violations or enforce any provision of ERISA or the terms of the plan.  Id. § 1132(a)(3).

Suit is also authorized by a participant or beneficiary for violations of 29 U.S.C. § 1025(c), which relates to the requirement that plan administrators furnish to each participant an individual statement setting forth the information with regard to such participant that must be contained in the registration statement required by 26 U.S.C. § 6057(a)(2).  See 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132(a)(4), 1025(c).  Section 6057(a)(2) of Title 26 relates to the administrator’s annual registration requirements, which registration must include:

(A)               the name of the plan;

(B)                the name and address of the plan administrator;

(C)                the name and taxpayer ID number of each participant;

(D)               the nature, amount, and form of deferred vested benefit to which each participant is entitled; and

(E)                whatever additional information the Secretary of Labor or the Treasury may require.   

26 U.S.C. § 6057(a)(2)(A)—(E).  The administrator must also, at the time of filing the registration, provide evidence that he has given to each plan participant an individual statement setting forth the information about that participant that is required to be included in the registration statement.  Id. § 6057(a)(2), […]

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