A federal judge in Philadelphia has again dismissed an ERISA lawsuit against Ricoh USA Inc. and its 401(k) plan fiduciaries by former plan participants who contended that investment management fees and administrative fees were excessive.
The plaintiffs sued in February 2022. U.S. District Court Judge Juan R. Sanchez dismissed the lawsuit in November 2022. He gave them the opportunity to amend their complaint.
"Plaintiffs again fail to plausibly allege defendants acted imprudently by charging plan participants unreasonable recordkeeping fees," Mr. Sanchez wrote April 20 in Kruchten et al. vs. Ricoh USA Inc. et al.
Because the amended complaint "fails to cure the defects identified in this court's previous order, defendants' motion to dismiss will be granted with prejudice," the judge wrote. "With prejudice" means the plaintiffs cannot bring this lawsuit to his court again.
When Mr. Sanchez dismissed the complaint in November, he wrote that the plaintiffs had failed to provide "meaningful benchmarks" to compare the Ricoh plan to similar plans, adding that they failed to do so again.
"Plaintiffs claim it is categorically imprudent to charge participants higher fees because all recordkeepers provide the same quality of services," he wrote. "Indeed, the assertion defies common sense."
Mr. Sanchez pointed out the Labor Department "expressly recommends" that defined contribution plan sponsors look at more than price — such as quality of services and customer satisfaction — when choosing a record keeper.
Ricoh USA Inc. Retirement Savings Plan, Exton, Pa., had $2.3 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2021, according to the latest Form 5500.