Monday, September 20, 2010
In Taylor v. UAW-GM, a plaintiff alleged legal malpractice based on a plan attorney's denial of benefits. The district court held that the state malpractice claim was preempted by ERISA because it was dependent upon her entitlement to benefits under that act:
Despite their different captions, all three claims allege that Defendants denied Plaintiff the legal services she was entitled to under the Plan...It is not the label placed on a state law claim that determines whether it is preempted, but whether in essence such a claim is for recovery of an ERISA plan benefit...This is not to say that all common law legal malpractice or quantum meruit claims against plan attorneys would be preempted by ERISA. But the thrust of Plaintiff's allegations in this case is that she was improperly denied benefits under the Plan.
Hat Tip: Alex Long