A federal judge in Green Bay, Wis., has again dismissed an ERISA lawsuit by a former Nestle USA Inc. employee who alleged the company and its fiduciaries mismanaged a 401(k) plan.
U.S. District Court Judge William C. Griesbach on Jan. 19 dismissed an amended complaint accusing the 401(k) plan of charging excessive record-keeping fees when compared with other plans.
Griesbach relied on a review by a magistrate judge, who ruled that the comparisons were inadequate in Lori M. Guyes vs. Nestle USA Inc. et al.
"The court concludes that the magistrate judge correctly analyzed plaintiff's purported comparators and found them disparate to the plan at issue," Griesbach wrote. "Without any comparators, the complaint contains no allegations that the amount of record-keeping and administrative fees paid by the plan breached the fiduciary duty of prudence."
Griesbach rejected the plaintiff's request to file another amended complaint. "This case was filed Oct. 9, 2020, and defendants have already been through two rounds of motions to dismiss," he explained.
Although the plaintiff wanted to add another set of comparator plans, "she does not explain why she could not have included these comparators in an earlier complaint," he wrote."At some point, there must be some endpoint to this time-consuming and expensive cycle of litigation."
Twelve months ago, the judge dismissed most of the allegations made by the plaintiff in the original lawsuit, allowing her to file an amended complaint.
Nestle 401(k) Savings Plan, Solon, Ohio, had $6 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2022, according to the latest Form 5500.