Judge Doubts BlackRock Participants’ ‘Clever’ ERISA Suit

Law360, Oakland, Calif. (September 6, 2019, 9:08 PM EDT) -- A California judge expressed reservations Friday about certifying an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class of plan participants who claim BlackRock charged unreasonable fees, costing them over $100 million, saying the case is a “thicket” of argument and the participants' theory is “clever,” but it may go too far.

During a hearing in Oakland, California, U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. questioned whether certifying a class would negate negotiations between institutional and sophisticated investors, such as Colgate-Palmolive Co., Texas Instruments Inc. and AT&T. The judge said BlackRock offers plans to “very large” companies that have leverage to negotiate their plans...

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