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Ninth Circuit Clarifies Analysis for Dismissing Claims for Lack of Standing

A former employee filed a lawsuit under ERISA claiming that his former employer wrongly terminated his long-term disability benefits. The federal district court dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the employee was not a participant in the plan and thus did not have standing to file suit under ERISA. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the dismissal explaining that if there is a colorable claim, the suit should not be dismissed. The Court explained that whether the former employee is a participant was a substantive element of his claim. Leeson v. Transamerica Disability Income Plan, No. 2:04-cv-00471-RSM (9th Cir. Jan. 23, 2012).

The lawyers of our Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group are readily able to assist companies on a nationwide basis with implementing sophisticated benefit plans and providing answers to their most challenging compensation issues. Additionally, our lawyers are well aware of the daily employee benefits challenges facing companies of all sizes and are capable of helping in-house lawyers and human resources personnel with the day-to-day advice and guidance necessary to properly administer employee benefits plans.

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