Challenging ERISA's Church Plan Exemption Is Not Easy

Law360, New York (September 26, 2013, 4:49 PM EDT) -- The church plan exemption codified at Employee Retirement Income Security Act § 3(33), 29 U.S.C. § 1022(33), exempts plans that meet its requirements from coverage by ERISA. In a series of recent class action lawsuits filed against Catholic health care institutions,[1] several plaintiffs’ law firms are challenging what has been the settled application of the church plan exemption to institutions that are not themselves churches but that claim the exemption because they are controlled by or associated with churches.

The claims in each lawsuit follow a...
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