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Service of Process

Guest jdw

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ERISA 502(d)(1) says "in a case where a plan has not designated in the [sPD] of the plan an individual as agent for the service of legal process, service upon the Secretary shall constitute such service."

I see many SPDs that designate a non-individual (e.g., the corporation or partnership/LLC plan sponsor) as the Plan Administrator, and then say the agent for process is the Plan Administrator.

Does that mean I have to serve Ms. Chao? "Individual" is not a "person", and usually means human being.

Also, when the first sentence says service is on the Plan Administrator or Trustee, does that mean you can serve either one? Or, the plan/SPD can specify which one, meaning service on teh other is invalid?

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  • 7 months later...
Guest Kevin A. Wiggins

Interesting question. 102 only says the SPD must name a person as agent for service of legal process. 502(d) says if that person is not an individual, you can serve the Secretary.

I haven't heard of any guidance on your question, but the statute says what it says. As a practical matter, the SPD, whether it names an individual or a corporation or another "person," must give the address at which process may be served on such person. I would use that address.

FYI, if you serve the Secretary, I recommend you call the Office of the Solicitor and ask for the address. It would probably go to the Division of Plan Benefits Security, not to Elaine Chao.

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