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NYU 403(b) participants appeal ERISA suit ruling in favor of the university

After losing an ERISA lawsuit against New York University alleging mismanagement of two of its 403(b) plans, the plaintiffs have filed a motion to appeal the court's decision, documents filed with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York show.

In the suit filed by the law firm of Schlichter Bogard & Denton, the plaintiffs of Sacerdote et al. vs. New York University — participants in NYU's 403(b) plans — claimed the university mismanaged the hiring and monitoring of record keepers for the two defined contribution plans, violating provisions of ERISA and resulting in excessively high fees.

All told, the plaintiffs alleged they suffered more than $358 million in total losses.

U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest in New York found in favor of NYU on all claims in July.

"Given the court's dismissal of the Schlichter firm's original claims and its finding that NYU has acted as a prudent fiduciary in the administration of its retirement plans, the decision to appeal is both regrettable and as lacking in merit as their case proved to be," said NYU spokesman John Beckman in an emailed statement.

Jerry Schlichter, partner at Schlichter Bogard & Denton, said in an emailed statement: "We respectfully continue to believe that retirement plan participants at universities that operate as non-profits have the same rights and protections under the law to build their retirement savings as workers at for-profit companies. We are continuing (to) pursue this case, in order to make the NYU employees and retirees financially whole, and we're committed to devoting whatever time and resources it takes to do so."