Case 1:09-cv-11087-RBC Document 47
Filed 11/30/11 United States District Court Massachusetts
Merigan v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston PDF file
Ramifications of Court Decision:
Claim Appeal 2½ Years After Denial Not Untimely Because of Amara.
“Further, we cannot agree that the terms of statutorily required plan summaries (or summaries of plan modifications) necessarily may be enforced (under § 502(a)(1)(B)) as the terms of the plan itself. For one thing, it is difficult to square the Solicitor General’s reading of the statute with ERISA § 102(a), the provision that obliges plan administrators to furnish summary plan descriptions. The syntax of that provision, requiring that participants and beneficiaries be advised of their rights and obligations ‘under the plan,’ suggests that the information about the plan provided by those disclosures is not itself part of the plan. See 29 U.S.C. § 1022(a). Nothing in § 502(a)(1)(B) (or, as far as we can tell, anywhere else) suggests the contrary.”
[W]e conclude that the summary documents, important as they are, provide communication with beneficiaries about the plan, but that their statements do not themselves constitute the terms of the plan for purposes of § 502(a)(1)(B).