Jenner & Block

Client Alert: Seventh Circuit Clarifies Standard for Establishing Fiduciary Status for Plan Service Providers

In Leimkuehler v. American United Life Insurance Co., Nos. 12-1081, 12-1213 & 12-2536 (7th Cir. Apr. 16, 2013), the Seventh Circuit expanded on its prior ruling in Hecker v. Deere, 556 F.3d 575 (7th Cir. 2009), and held that a service provider that offers a menu of investment options to a 401(k) plan and retains the right to overrule the options chosen by the plan from that menu is a functional fiduciary only to the extent that it actually exercises authority or control over plan assets.  In this alert, Amanda S. Amert from our ERISA Litigation and Joshua Rafsky from our Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practices summarize the case and identify important ramifications of the Court’s decision, which will be of particular interest to plan service providers.