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LaRue v. DeWolff, Boberg & Associates, Inc.

Docket No.: 06-856
Certiorari Granted: Jun 18 2007
Argued: November 26, 2007
Decided: February 20, 2008

Topic:

Employee Retirement Income Sec

PartyNames: LARUE v. DEWOLFF, BOBERG & ASSOCIATES, INC., ET AL.
Petitioner: James LaRue
Respondent: DeWolff, Boberg & Associates, Inc., et al.

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

James LaRue
v.
DeWolff, Boberg & Associates, Inc., et al.
552 U.S. 248 (2008)
Question Presented:

1. Section 502(a)(2) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(2), provides that a "civil action may be brought * * * by a participant * * * for appropriate relief under section 1109 of this title." 29 U.S.C. 1109 states that "a fiduciary with respect to a plan who breaches any * * * duties imposed upon fiduciaries * * * shall be personally liable to make good to such plan any losses to the plan resulting from each such breach." The First Question Presented is: Does §502(a)(2) of ERISA permit a participant to bring an action to recover losses attributable to his account in a "defined contribution plan" that were caused by fiduciary breach? 1 2. Section 502(a)(3) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(3), provides that a "civil action may be brought * * * by a participant * * * to obtain other appropriate equitable relief * * * to redress * * * violations" of the statute. The Second Question Presented is: Does §502(a)(3) permit a participant to bring an action for monetary "make-whole" relief to compensate for losses directly caused by fiduciary breach (known in pre-merger courts of equity as "surcharge")? 2 1Hereinafter, this will be referred to as the "502(a)(2) Question."2 Hereinafter, this will be referred to as the " 502(a)(3) Question."

Question:

Does Section 502(a)(2) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 allow an employee pension plan participant to sue the plan manager for losses caused by breach of fiduciary duties in administering the plan, even when the losses affected only the participant's personal account? Does a suit brought by a plan participant against the plan manager for breach of fiduciary duty qualify as a suit for "equitable relief" for the purposes of Section 502(a)(3) of ERISA?

Holding: judgment vacated and remanded
Vote: 9-0
Opinion By:
Read LARUE V. DEWOLFF, BOBERG & ASSOCIATES, INC. opinion (PDF)
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