Friday, August 9, 2013
Readers may find of interest Albert Feuer's recent article, The Supreme Court Finds Federal Life Insurance Rules Preempt State Law in Hillman v. Maretta and Reinforces ERISA Protections for ERISA Plan Participants and Beneficiaries, 32 Tax Mgm’t Wkly. J. 1040 (August 5, 2013), which is available here on SSRN.
Albert provides this summary:
The article makes two basic observations. First, the preemption principles pertaining to federal employee benefits may be quite relevant to ERISA, which governs private employee benefit plans. Second, the Windsor case is relevant to employee benefits attorneys not only for its overturning of DOMA, but for the discussion of federalism in the Supreme Court majority opinion. The latter in concert with Hillman supports the continued viability of Boggs and Egelhoff and their conclusion that ERISA protection extends to distributed benefits. There has thus been considerable erosion of the significance of the Kennedy footnote that seemed to undermine the extent of those protections. That footnote has been used by many courts to find that state law may be used to wrest benefits from duly designated ERISA beneficiaries.
Another interesting take on developing trends in ERISA case law and one which employee benefit law afficionados should check out.