Saturday, April 18, 2009

Claim for Breach of Fiduciary Duty Cannot Be Brought After Claim for Breach of ERISA Benefits Fails

In its second opinion on the same claim, the Eleventh Circuit held the plaintiff could not assert a breach of fiduciary duty claim after she had previously failed on her claim for breach of ERISA benefits. The first opinion in Burroughs v. BellSouth Telecommunications, 248 Fed. App. 64 (11th Cir. 2007) can be found here and the second opinion can in Burroughs v. Broadspire can be found here. In the Burroughs v. Broadspire opinion released on April 15, 2009, the Court held:

After reviewing the record and reading the parties briefs, we see no reversible error. Burroughs’ claims in the instant case are virtually identical to her criticisms of Broadspire in Burroughs I. Burroughs cannot state a claim for breach of fiduciary duties where she was able to assert a claim for an appropriate remedy for the denial of benefits under ERISA § 502(a)(1)(B). See Varity Corp. v. Howe, 516 U.S. 489 (1996). We have held multiple times, under these circumstances, a breach of fiduciary duty claim cannot be asserted. See Ogden v. Blue Bell Creameries, U.S.A., Inc., 348 F.3d 1284 (11th Cir. 2003); Katz v. Comprehensive Plan of Group Ins., 197 F.3d 1084 (11th Cir. 1999).

Alternatively, under both claim and issue preclusion, our earlier decision in Burroughs I holding that Broadspire was neither arbitrary nor capricious precludes Burroughs from continuing to assert claims against Broadspire based on the same 2004 benefit decision. Accordingly, for the aforementioned reasons, we affirm the judgment of dismissal.


Post a Comment