Emory University recently agreed to pay $17 million in order to settle a lawsuit brought against the institution by retirement plan participants. The ERISA complaint was brought by those participating in retirement plans offered to those employed by the school. The claim stated that the executives of the plan violated their fiduciary duty owed to the participants, meaning they did not do everything required to handle employee contributions in a manner that was in the best interests of participants.
When Tennessee employees invest their hard-earned income into an employer-offered retirement plan, they have the right to expect those funds to be used wisely. This means avoiding unnecessary fees that can cost participants money, as well as investing the funds prudently so as to get the best return on their investment. In the statement regarding the settlement, Emory denied any wrongdoing or mismanagement of retirement accounts.
Emory maintains they settled the lawsuit in order to avoid additional legal fees and litigation costs. In addition to the monetary terms of the agreement, there were several stipulations related to the use of plan participants’ personal information, account services, disability insurance and more. The settlement period will last for three years after the finalization of the settlement agreement.
ERISA matters are complex, and concerned individuals will find it helpful to speak with a Tennessee attorney experienced in these types of claims. Retirement funds should be wisely and judiciously handled, and plan participants have the right to hold employers accountable for mismanagement. When there are potential issues, an assessment of the individual situation can be informative and provide direction regarding the right way forward.