Catalyst theory carried in Erisa Case- Appellate Law NJ Blog

– Appellate Law NJ Blog.

by Bruce Greenberg

Templin v. Independence Blue Cross, ___ F.3d ___ (3d Cir. 2015).  “A party seeking attorney’s fees under ERISA [the Employees Retirement Income Security Act] must show ‘some success’ on the merits.  Here, the District Court incorrectly defined ‘some success’ by requiring evidence of judicial action.”  So began Judge Nygaard’s opinion for the Third Circuit in this case.  The panel reversed the denial of attorneys’ fees to plaintiff and remanded to the District Court for consideration of the fee application under the proper criteria.

Plaintiffs (two individuals and two pharmacies) sued the defendant insurance companies for improper denial of benefits under ERISA.  After the District Court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss, defendants paid the claims and the case was dismissed.  Both sides sought attorneys’ fees, but both the District Court and the Third Circuit denied both fee requests.  The Third Circuit left one issue to be resolved: whether plaintiffs were entitled to interest on the delayed payment of benefits.  The case was remanded to the District Court on that issue.

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