Circuit Court Allows Breach of Fiduciary Claims to Proceed Against Plan Fiduciary

In Fish v. Greatbanc Trust Co., the Seventh Circuit reversed a district court’s granting of summary judgment in favor of the Plan fiduciary based on a statute of limitations defense.  The district court found that a three year statute should apply based upon materials that were furnished to the employee owners at the time of a buyout gave them knowledge of the potential violation of ERISA.  Reversing, the Seventh Circuit held a longer six year period should apply because not only are the substantive documents that were provided as part of the buyout package relevant, but also any processes used to negotiate, evaluate, and approve the transaction at issue.  Hence, there was not an undisputed fact regarding actual knowledge of the breach of ERISA duties, and the six year limitations period would apply.