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

"Coincidentally, on the day of a recent Synergy Seminar on Medicare & ERISA lien resolution I received a letter on an ERISA lien. This letter followed much back and forth between myself and the recovery vendor for BCBS. Despite my efforts they were adamant there would be no (zero)(zilch)(nada) reduction and provided case law to support their position. I tried Synergy’s Lien Resolution Services since I had just heard their Director of Lien Resolution speak. Synergy got them to reduce their claim by a third in less than ten (10) days. The result was quick and the fee very reasonable. If you have a tough ERISA lien and your typical efforts don’t work, give Synergy a try."

Michael S. Smith, Esq.
Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith, PLLC

Thank you so much for the services your firm provided to our client. Should the need arise again, we will ALWAYS use Synergy. Your customer service was outstanding and the guidance and instructions your office gave us with our client's Medicare waiver application was instrumental in getting a FULL waiver of his Medicare lien. I know our clients were very grateful for your help, too. And, I just wanted to write and let you know how happy we were with your services. We will always recommend your company to any other plaintiff's attorneys that need help with lien reduction or waivers. Thank you again!

Peggy Rothenberger, Legal Assistant to Henry Moore
Law Offices of Henry Moore

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