Synergy Blog

From Roger Baron: Remedies of Equitable Estoppel, Restitution, and Surcharge utilized in Beneficiary’s claim against Plan

Reprinted with permission from Roger Baron

“In Winkelspecht v. Larson Company, 2012 WL 1995103 (Wis. June 1, 2012), the federal district judge approves “surcharge or restitution” on behalf of a beneficiary’s claim against the plan for breach of fiduciary duty. This court had previously approved the use of “equitable estoppel” against the plan in this same case.  This opinion construes “appropriate equitable relief” as found in § 502(a)(3) in light of Cigna v. Amara, stating:

In sum, I conclude that in light of Amara, in this case Plaintiff is entitled to either surcharge or restitution against GALCO and the Plan as a remedy for the breach of fiduciary duty. Plaintiff will of course not be allowed to recover twice but the breach of fiduciary duty is an alternate ground (to her claim of equitable estoppel) under which she is entitled to relief. Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment as to both claims is therefore granted. Judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendants GALCO and the Plan for the policy amount of $103,000, less the unpaid premiums.”

To view the opinion, click HERE

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