ERISA Litigation Roundup: Sixth Circuit Holds ERISA § 502(a)(2) Claims May Not Be Arbitrated Absent Plan Consent

On April 27, 2022, the Sixth Circuit decided Hawkins v. Cintas Corporation, No. 21-3156, holding that claims for breach of fiduciary duty under § 502(a)(2) of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), belong to the plan, and plaintiffs asserting such claims for alleged harm to their individual retirement accounts in defined contribution plans may not be compelled to arbitrate those claims absent the plan’s consent.

Hawkins is a putative class action that participants in an ERISA-governed defined-contribution retirement plan filed on behalf of the plan against Cintas Corporation, their former employer and the plan’s sponsor, under ERISA § 502(a)(2). The plaintiffs alleged that Cintas had breached fiduciary duties it owed to them under ERISA in connection with its administration of the plan, causing losses to the plan.

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About Author: Stephanie L. Gutwein

Stephanie Gutwein litigates complex business, ERISA, insurance coverage, class action and product liability disputes, as well as claims arising under the United States and Indiana constitutions, in both federal and state court. She is also certified in environmental law. Stephanie works closely with clients to understand their business and financial goals, which helps her achieve optimal results. View all posts by and

About Author: Kimberly Jones

Kimberly Jones advocates for clients in a broad range of ERISA-related matters in federal courts throughout the country. She is co-leader of the firm’s ERISA litigation team, and a member of the benefits and executive compensation practice group. View all posts by and

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