Benefits Ruling Raises Jury Trial Question For ERISA Cases

By Mark DeBofsky (September 24, 2021, 3:26 PM EDT) -- Should there be jury trials in Employee Retirement Income Security Act benefit denial cases? A recent ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Phillips v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada,[1] has reopened the debate.

The Phillips case was originally filed in Ohio state court and alleged a variety of claims against Sun Life. Sun Life removed the matter to federal court, maintaining the case was governed by ERISA regardless of what was alleged. Sun Life also moved to dismiss claims that were preempted by ERISA.

The plaintiff responded by filing an amended complaint alleging an...

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