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Clarification on 5th Cir. Schlumberger Case

Dave Baker

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Here's a "letter to the editor" received by BenefitsLink:


July 15, 2003

Dear Editor:

Hate to be picky, but the [July 14, 2003 BenefitsLink welfare plans] newsletter description of the 5th Cir. opinion in the Schlumberger case is very misleading.

Far from adopting the "serious consideration" test, the court rejected that test as a bright-line test for determining whether the employer had breached its fiduciary duties. Instead, the court adopted a fact-specific analysis of whether the information, or lack of it, was material to the employee's decision.

In addition, the court held that employer's do not have a fiduciary duty to affirmatively disclose that they are considering a plan amendment.

Hope you find this useful. Overall, your newsletters are a great source of info on a wide variety of topics. I find them very useful!

Bill Brown


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