Friday, September 11, 2009

ERISA Lien Waived?

Posted by Michael Russell

I wrote to a client’s carrier and requested proof of the ERISA plan. There was no reply after more than 30 days. The client wants me to settle the claim. Can the ERISA claim be waived due to no response? If so, is there any authority for this?

Washington Attorney

Under ERISA (section 1024(b)(4)) an administrator must make plan materials available and furnish copies of such upon request. Case law says that this request must be sufficiently specific. Your email below does not mention whether or not specific documents were requested (SPD, Form 5500, etc) but if the request mentioned ERISA it would seem to be specific enough.

Under section 1132(c)(1) if the administrator fails to honor a request within 30 days, the administrator can be subject to statutory civil penalties of up to $100 a day. However, this failure to respond does not result in a waiver of claim(s).

Mike Russell