August 21, 2019

Tenth Circuit: Respondent Retained the Right to Amend the Life Insurance Plan in the Plan Description

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Kerber v. Qwest Group Life Ins. Plan on Thursday, June 2, 2011.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of claims and grants of summary judgment. Petitioners are six participants in and two beneficiaries of a life insurance plan offered by Respondent and the plan provides life insurance benefits to certain classes of former employees of Respondent. The case “centers around two actions taken by [Respondent]: (1) a retirement option (the “5+5 Option”) offered to employees in 1989, and (2) amendments to the Plan that occurred between 1997 and 2007.” Petitioners contend that Respondents were not authorized to make certain changes to the plan and, in doing so, violated their fiduciary duty. The Court disagreed, finding that Respondent retained the right to amend the plan as outlined in the insurance plan description, and therefore Respondent’s actions did not constitute a material misrepresentation. Additionally, the Court determined that all of the alleged misrepresentations regarding the ability to make amendments to the plan were immaterial.

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