In the April 21, 2021 issue of the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the Daily Journal published an article entitled “Ruling Clarifies who Qualifies as an ERISA Fiduciary” written by the McKennon Law Group PC’s Managing Shareholder, Robert J. McKennon. The article addresses a recent case by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Bafford v. Northrop Grumman Corp. The case involved repeated representations by the plan that retirement benefits would be $2000 per month when they were, in fact, only $807 per month. While the court held that the ministerial conduct of a third-party delegee who made incorrect pension calculations pursuant to a formula provided to it and transmitted them to the plaintiffs did not constitute fiduciary actions; it also held that pension plan participants could bring state-law professional negligence and negligent misrepresentation claims against non-fiduciaries who make representations regarding plan benefits. The ruling confirms that such claims against non-fiduciaries engaging in ministerial acts are not preempted by ERISA. The ruling provides an important additional avenue for relief for plan members who are harmed as the result of such repeated gross misrepresentations of plan benefits. For a full view of the article, take a look at our blog, here.