Judge Allows ERISA Lawsuit Against Massachusetts General Brigham

A federal judge in Boston denied Mass General Brigham Inc.’s motion. to dismiss a lawsuit against the healthcare system filed by former pension plan participants who allege mismanagement in violation of ERISA.

“Plaintiffs have sufficiently stated their claims of breach of duty of care and failure to supervise” fiduciaries, wrote U.S. District Court Judge Angel Kelly in her dismissal of the motion to dismiss Norton et al. v. Mass General Brigham Inc. and etc.

Former members sued in January 2022 — and later changed their complaint — stating that Massachusetts General Brigham and Member Organizations’ Consolidated 403(b) Program suffered from excessive record keeping fees as well as from inadequate monitoring of investment performance and investment fees. .

“Their actions were contrary to the actions of a reasonable trustee,” the lawsuit, which purports to be a class action, says.

Mass General Brigham Inc. is the umbrella organization for five hospitals in Massachusetts, including Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“The Respondent is highlighting cases from other schemes where malpractice claims based on excessive record keeping fees required more accurate factual statements to demonstrate that the services of the comparator plans are similar to the plan in question,” the judge wrote. “In the absence of a First Circuit body that directly considers this matter, this court is persuaded by the trend in the First Circuit courts to allow similar complaints to remain in the force of motions to dismiss and proceed with disclosure.”

The First US Circuit Court of Appeals covers the federal district courts in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico.

According to the most recent Form 5500, as of September 30, 2021, the assets of the Consolidated 403(b) Program of Mass General Brigham and member organizations, Somerville, Massachusetts, were $12.38 billion.

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