9th Circuit says regulatory safe harbor for employee pension benefit plans is limited

It looks like the NEA suit is dead:

"The “Valuebuilder Plan” could be construed as referring to the individual Valuebuilder annuities offered by Nationwide and Security Benefit. However, these annuities were not established or maintained by either the employees' school district employers or by the NEA. These annuity contracts could not, therefore, be “employee pension benefit plans” covered by ERISA. Insofar as the employees used the term “Valuebuilder Plan” to refer to these individual § 403(b) annuities, they failed to state an ERISA claim. The judgment of the district court had to be affirmed."

In America there are two defined contributions systems - one that is governed by ERISA and one that is not. Those who are in non-ERISA plans are apparently able to get away with just about anything. This needs to change.

Scott Dauenhauer