Appellate Class Certification Decision in ERISA Litigation

On January 21, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in an important ruling with broad implications vacated the district court’s order certifying a class in Beesley et. al, v. International Paper Company, et. al. and remanded the case for further
proceedings consistent with its opinion. Among other things, the Court of Appeals found that in the context of a defined contribution plan “a fund that turns out to be an imprudent investment over a particular time period for one participant may be a fine investment for another participant who invests in the same fund over a slightly different period. If both are included in the same class, a conflict will result and class treatment will become untenable.” Compass Lexecon expert David Ross supported by Laurel Van Allen and Gina Vinogradsky of our Chicago office provided a report concerning class conflicts on behalf of the Defendants, who were represented by Greg Braden and others at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Ross has provided a similar analysis in other ERISA cases around the country.