Articles Posted in ERISA

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When Tyco Valves & Controls, L.P. decided to close one of its facilities located in Houston, Tyco offered certain employees retention agreements providing that, if the employees remained with the company through the facility’s closure, they would receive severance payments in the event they were not offered comparable employment with Tyco. After Tyco sold one of the production units located in the facility to another company, Plaintiffs, several former employees who had worked in that unit and been denied severance, filed a breach of contract action against Tyco. The trial court ruled in favor of the employees and awarded the severance pay. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Employee Retirement Income and Security Act of 1974 preempted Plaintiffs’ breach-of-contract claims. View "Arsenio Colorado v. Tyco Valves & Controls, L.P." on Justia Law

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At issue in this interlocutory appeal was whether the claims of an employee against his employer, both of whom were health care providers, alleging injuries arising out of inadequate training, supervision, risk-mitigation, and safety in a mental health facility, constituted health care liability claims (HCLCs) under the Texas Medical Liability Act (Act). Employer filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that Employee's claims constituted HCLCs under the Act and that Employee had not served an expert report on Employer as required under the Act. The trial court denied Employer's motion. The trial court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Employee here was properly characterized as a "claimant" under the Act and his allegations against his nonsubscribing Employer were health care and safety claims under the Act's definition of HCLCs, requiring an expert report to maintain his lawsuit; and (2) the Act does not conflict with the Texas Workers' Compensation Act. Remanded. View "Tex. W. Oaks Hosp., LP v. Williams " on Justia Law

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The parties to the appeal disagreed about whether an employer who self funded a health-benefit plan for its employees was an "insurer" under the Texas Insurance Code, and therefore should be treated as a reinsurer when purchasing stop-loss insurance. The court of appeals concluded that an employer's self-funded plan was clearly an insurer under the Code and that a plan's purchase of stop-loss insurance was also clearly reinsurance beyond the regulatory scope of the Texas Department of Insurance. The court accordingly reversed the trial court's judgment, which held that the agency's regulation of the stop-loss policies at issue as direct insurance. Because the regulatory agency did not clearly err in its regulation of these stop-loss policies, however, the court reversed the court of appeals' judgment and rendered judgment for the agency. View "TX Dept. of Ins., et al. v. American National Ins. Co., et al." on Justia Law