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‘Reasonable’ statutes of limitation OK under ERISA

by on
in Employment Law,Human Resources

Wading into perhaps the most mundane issue it has faced in years, the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 16 ruled that a long-term disability plan’s three-year statute of limitations on claims was “reasonable” and did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), which governs many employee benefits.

In 2005, a Walmart employee sought long-term disability benefits, but the Hartford insurance company denied her claim because she waited more than three years to file, as the plan’s terms specified. A district court dismissed the case, the 2nd Circuit affirmed the dismissal and now the Supreme Court has agreed.

The High Court declined to say how long a statute of limitations should be in ERISA cases—merely that the three years required in this case was “reasonable.” The case is Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co. (No. 12-729., U.S. Supreme Court, 2013).

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