A federal judge in Chicago has dismissed a lawsuit by a former Wintrust Financial 401(k) plan participant who accused the company and plan fiduciaries of violating ERISA by offering a BlackRock target-date series that she alleged performed poorly compared to several other target-date series.
The lawsuit, Luckett vs. Wintrust Financial Corp. et al., is one of 11 similar lawsuits filed against different sponsors making the same allegations of poor performance regarding the BlackRock Lifepath Index Retirement Fund.
All lawsuits say sponsors should have removed the target-date series. All have been filed by Miller Shah LLP as lead counsel or co-counsel.
BlackRock isn't a defendant in the lawsuits.
So far, lower courts have dismissed lawsuits twice each against Microsoft, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Capital One Financial, and once against Advance Publications. Plaintiffs in the Booz Allen and Capital One complaints filed notices of appeals, then withdrew them.
In the Wintrust case, "plaintiff's comparators do not provide a sound basis for comparison in order to state an imprudence claim," U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Rowland wrote in the dismal, dated July 14.
"Plaintiff does not otherwise make allegations giving rise to an inference that defendants had an imprudent process or breached their fiduciary duty," she wrote.
The judge also rejected the plaintiff's allegation of self-dealing in offering the BlackRock investment.
"The complaint does not contain allegations of self- serving behavior at the expense of the plan, and plaintiff does not point to any in her response brief," the judge wrote. "The breach of duty of loyalty claim is therefore dismissed."
The judge added that the plaintiff could amend her complaint, setting a deadline of Aug. 2, or the case will be terminated.
Wintrust Financial Corp. Retirement Savings Plan, Rosemont, Ill., had assets of $651.1 million as of Dec. 31, 2021, according to the latest Form 55.