The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review an appellate court ruling that dismissed a case alleging a fiduciary duty breach by offering a money market fund instead of a stable value fund among other decisions, according to court orders released Tuesday.
Plaintiffs in the case, White et al. vs. Chevron Corp. et al., petitioned the Supreme Court to clarify whether plaintiffs can make a case for a breach of fiduciary duty if they are not privy to the fiduciaries' decision-making process. They also argued that adverse federal district and appeals court rulings conflict with legal standards established by other federal appeals courts.
The participants' complaints were dismissed twice by a U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., and by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. "Outside of the Ninth Circuit, petitioners' complaint would have survived dismissal," said the petition filed April 3 to the Supreme Court.
The participants sued Chevron Corp. and its retirement plan investment committee in February 2016, saying the 401(k) plan should have offered a stable value fund instead of a money market fund. They said plan managers should have acted faster to remove an allegedly underperforming small-cap value equity fund (it was removed in 2014 after four years on the investment menu). They also contended that the plan charged excessive administrative and investment management fees.
The Chevron Employee Savings Investment Plan, San Ramon, Calif., had $20 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2017, according to the latest Form 5500.