Ninth Circuit clarifies the scope and application of “surcharge” and “reformation” remedies under ERISA

By Darren E. Nadel
March 23, 2012

Skinner is a welcome decision for plan fiduciaries. It is, however, only the first appellate opinion on the subject post-Amara. Additionally, the facts of the case were not particularly compelling for the plaintiffs, since they received accurate information before making their retirement decisions and thus never relied on the faulty SPD. Undoubtedly other courts will tackle the issue of ERISA remedies in the coming months. In the meantime, however, employer/plan administrators should continue to subject their plan documents and benefits communications to a careful review to ensure their accuracy and clarity. Skinner teaches that, in the context of benefit communications, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.

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