Justia Aerospace/Defense Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in ERISA
Menkes v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am.
Plaintiffs, employed by defense contractor Qinetiq to work on a military base in Iraq, were enrolled in Qinetiq’s Basic Long Term Disability, Basic Life, and Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance policies, governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001, under a single contract with Prudential. Qinetiq paid the premiums. Plaintiffs also purchased, with their own funds, supplemental coverage under the same terms as the basic policies; there was a single summary plan description. An employee would file a single claim for basic and supplemental coverage benefits. The plan booklets provided that loss is not covered if it results from war, or any act of war, declared or undeclared. These exclusions applied to both the basic and supplemental policies. The plaintiffs were not otherwise uninsured for excluded injuries. Qinetiq obtained insurance required by the Defense Base Act, 42 U.S.C. 1651. After Prudential denied claims, the plaintiffs sued, alleging violations of the state consumer fraud acts and the Truth in Consumer Contract, Warranty, and Notice Act; breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; and intentional or negligent misrepresentation or omission. They contended that Prudential fraudulently induced them to buy supplemental coverage knowing that any claim they filed would likely be subject to the war exclusions, rendering supplemental coverage effectively worthless. The district court dismissed, treating the basic and supplemental policies as components of a single plan, and holding that all state law claims were preempted by ERISA. The Third Circuit affirmed, holding that the supplemental coverage cannot be “unbundled” from ERISA coverage. View "Menkes v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am." on Justia Law
DIRECTV Group, Inc. v. United States
DIRECTV sold business segments. In 1997 it sold defense units to Raytheon, transferring $5,774,655,148 in pension assets and $3,310,028,559 in pension liabilities, a net transfer of $2,464,626,589 in surplus pension assets. In a 2000 sale of satellite business units to Boeing, DIRECTV transferred $1,843,930,981 in pension assets and $1,037,344,156 in liabilities, a net transfer of $806,586,825 in surplus assets. In both transactions, DIRECTV retained a small portion of surplus pension assets. The Government asserted noncompliance with Cost Accounting Standard 413.50(c)(12) (41 U.S.C. 422(f)(1)), which regulates assignment of actuarial gains and losses, valuation of assets of a pension fund, and allocation of pension costs to a contractor’s business segments, and demanded payments of $68,695,891 and of $12,197,704. The Court of Federal Claims granted DIRECTV summary judgment. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The claims court correctly determined that DIRECTV's segment closing obligations could be satisfied by cost savings realized by the Government in successor contracts. The court rejected arguments that the trial court erred by calculating segment closing adjustments based on assets and liabilities of the entire segment, rather than only assets and liabilities that DIRECTV retained and that the Federal Acquisition Regulation required DIRECTV itself to pay any amount due as a segment closing adjustment.View "DIRECTV Group, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law