« Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 3 (now 4) today (and 8 NFP) | Main | Ind. Decisions - Transfer list for week ending August 31, 2012 »

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today, vacating and remanding

In Victtor George v. Junior Achievemment of Central Indiana (SD Ind., Magnus-Stinson), an 11-page opinion, Chief Judge Easterbrook writes:

An employer’s failure to deposit money withheld from an employee’s paycheck into that employee’s retirement account is a breach of the employer’s duties as a fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). See 29 U.S.C. §1104(a). George protested his employer’s violation of that duty and maintains that the protests led to his firing. Section 510 of ERISA prohibits retaliation “against any person because he has given information or has testified or is about to testify in any inquiry or proceeding relating to this [Act]”. 29 U.S.C. §1140. Junior Achievement argues that the language does not cover George’s complaints, and the district court agreed. It granted Junior Achievement’s motion for summary judgment on the ERISA claim and dismissed George’s state-law claims without prejudice. 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111846 (S.D. Ind. Sept. 28, 2011). * * *

George notified Junior Achievement of the potential breach of its fiduciary duties and asked (repeatedly) what would be done to remedy the situation. Those conversations involved an “inquiry,” as we understand that word, because Junior Achievement responded to them rather than ignoring them. (If it had ignored them, they could not have caused the discharge.) The district court must decide whether there is some other ground on which this case may be resolved short of trial, or whether a trial on causation is necessary. The judgment of the district court is vacated, and the case is remanded for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 4, 2012 02:30 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions