Saturday, April 24, 2010
Yesterday's Daily Labor Report discusses at length the Supreme Court's decision Wednesday in Conkright v. Frommert. In Conkright, the Court ruled that a court must continue to give deference to a plan administrator's interpretation of a pension plan after the first interpretation has been found to be arbitrary and capricious under Firestone. Paul thinks the Court got it wrong, as you can see from his Workplace Prof Blog post here. The Daily Labor Report discussion of the case quoted extensively from Paul's post. Here's what DLR said:
Shortly after the Supreme Court released the decision, Professor Paul M. Secunda of Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee reacted to the decision on the Workplace Prof Blog. Secunda was among several law professors who filed amicus briefs in the case in support of the Xerox employees.
“I am dismayed that the conservatives on the Supreme Court still do not get how ERISA remedies work (or that they do, but choose to side with business interests regardless),” Secunda said on the blog. “In a nutshell, the case came down to Chief Justice Robert's (and his fellow conservatives') belief that Xerox had made ‘just one honest mistake' in interpreting the plan unreasonably in the first place. It then follows that Xerox should get a second bite at the apple in saying how the plan should be interpreted, because after all their arbitrary and capricious first go at it was made in good faith,” Secunda said.
He added that the evidence “clearly established” that there was anything but an “honest mistake” on Xerox's part. “It was a well-thought out plan of denying these employees their pension benefits. And with business allies on the court forming a majority, Xerox was able to prevail,” Secunda said.