Supreme Court’s decision on Intel vs Sulyma regarding 401ks explained

Below is a statement from Ropes & Gray tax & benefits partner Josh Lichtenstein on the Supreme Court’s decision on Intel vs Sulyma.

The Justices ruled that employers can’t shorten the window 401(k) participants have to sue over alleged plan mismanagement by simply posting plan information online or sending disclosures in the mail.

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Statement on Intel vs Sulyma

“The Intel vs Sulyma decision has made it clear that the full six-year statute of limitations under ERISA will apply to claims by 401(k) participants against plan sponsors in more circumstances, and on a nationwide basis.  This decision will make it harder for plan sponsors to limit their liability for 401(k) investment menu design decisions, and it may add further momentum to the ongoing wave of fiduciary breach and fee litigation class actions that have already resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements from plan sponsors. 

The decision will be especially impactful for plan sponsors located in circuits that have traditionally been more willing to limit the period for damages to three years, and who may find themselves more likely to be targeted by class action suits in the future.  This decision is also noteworthy because it will allow the lower courts to assess the underlying question of whether Intel acted prudently when it decided to include alternative investments (such as hedge funds and private equity funds) in its plans.”

- Ropes & Gray tax & benefits partner Josh Lichtenstein

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