Balance Seems To Elude Justices In Northwestern ERISA Case

By Dawn Murphy-Johnson (December 13, 2021, 3:11 PM EST) -- Whenever the U.S. Supreme Court tackles the complex and reticulated statute known as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, one thing is certain: The case will not be simple. 

So, it came as no surprise when, after having stretched well past the time allotted, the Dec. 6 oral argument in Hughes v. Northwestern University[1] ended without the justices providing much of a sense of how, exactly, the case might turn out.

Despite ERISA's many complexities, Hughes presents a single procedural question concerning the pleading standard for a violation of ERISA's duty of prudence based on allegedly excessive fees.

The Hughes plaintiffs,...

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