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Hospital employees lose ERISA claim based on "safe harbor" in regulations

James Christopher Bidwell and Susan Wilson sued the University Medical Center and Lincoln Retirement Services Company for breach of fiduciary duty in the management of their ERISA pension plan.   In 2007, the Labor Department adopted regulations that allowed employers greater investment flexibility and immunity from choices that turned out to be unwise.    The employees argued that the fiduciaries illegally moved retirement assets from a stable investment to a more risky and inappropriate investment.  The Circuit Court of Appeals cited the 2007 "safe harbor" provision in holding that the employees could not sue the University and Lincoln for the loss in value in their pension plan.

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