Synergy Blog

From Roger Baron: “hardship” to participant warrants denial of equitable relief to ERISA plan seeking § 502(a)(3)(B) relief

Reprinted with Permission from Roger Baron

The case of Longuski v. Iron Workers’ Local No. 24, 2012 W.L. 1247172 (E.D.Mich. April 13, 2012) involves a dispute over a disability pension benefit. The ERISA plan asserted a counterclaim under ERISA § 502(a)(3)(B) for “appropriate equitable relief.” The plan sought enforcement of an equitable lien for $95,980 which the plan alleged was mistakenly paid to Longuski. This court denies the counterclaim holding, inter alia, that “it would be inequitable to order Plaintiff to pay $97,980.00 to reimburse the Plan for the mistake it made in paying benefits in the first place.”  This decision relies upon a 1992 6th circuit decision which held that it is appropriate to consider “hardship [plan participants] would suffer if they were forced to pay back benefits which they had received and depended upon.”  As to the facts relating to Longuski’ situation, the court states, “Plaintiff and his family spent the benefits they received in order to pay for the necessities of living during the period he received benefits. Plaintiff cannot afford to repay the benefits that were mistakenly paid.”

To view the opinion click HERE

TESTIMONIALS

"I recently engaged Synergy to assist with a complicated PTD settlement involving a substantial Medicare Set Aside. The claimant’s wife has been providing full time attendant care which is not Medicare covered. The Synergy nurse was able to do a full analysis of non-Medicare covered expenses which far exceeded the value of the MSA analysis performed by the carrier’s contracted MSA provider. The non- Medicare figures became the main focus of the settlement negotiations and more than doubled the value of the case. Although I could estimate the attendant care figures, the nurse added in other items that I would not have routinely considered. I also asked Synergy to evaluate the EC’s MSA as well as their prescription review. Synergy offered insight about the prescription donut hole which I did not have a clear understanding about. Again, their insight and information added a great deal of value to the overall settlement. Not only did I learn from Synergy but was able to educate my clients in the process. These are very complex and complicated areas; I will use Synergy again and again!"

Rosemary Eure
Lancaster & Eure

"I just wanted to say thanks to you and the entire Synergy Settlement Services team for helping us put together a series of structured settlements and special needs trusts in two complex cases involving significant recoveries. As always, your accessibility, guidance and expertise on a whole host of post-settlement issues is very much appreciated and valued, particularly with respect to the often confusing topic of Medicare set asides. I look forward to our continued collaboration on cases in the future and am very appreciate of the first rate service your company continues to provide to our clients."

Stephan Le Clainche
Formerly of Babbitt, Johnson, Osborne & Le Clainche

WordPress Image Lightbox