A federal judge in Green Bay, Wis., has dismissed an ERISA lawsuit against Matthews International Corp., Pittsburgh, and fiduciaries of a company 401(k) plan over allegations of ERISA violations. U.S. District Court Judge William C. Griesbach on Jan. 19 dismissed the second amended complaint from Deborah Cotter, a former participant, adding that she won't be allowed to submit a third amended complaint.
"This case was filed on July 13, 2020, and defendants have already been through two rounds of motions to dismiss," the judge wrote. "At some point, there must be some endpoint to this time-consuming and expensive cycle of litigation."
The original lawsuit claimed ERISA violations for alleged excessive investment management fees and excessive record-keeping fees.
Griesbach accepted a magistrate judge's report recommending dismissal of all allegations. The plaintiff didn't challenge the investment-management recommendation, but she objected to the record-keeping recommendation.
Griesbach pointed out that the plaintiff's initial comparison of the Matthews plan record-keeping costs vs. other plans was legally insufficient in the case of Cotter vs. Matthews International Corp. et al.
"Without any comparators, the complaint contains no allegations that the amount of recordkeeping and administrative fees paid by the plan breached the fiduciary duty of prudence," he wrote.
When the plaintiff asked to file a third amended complaint with more comparative record-keeping examples, the judge rejected the request, adding that she didn't explain why she didn't provide this information earlier.
As of Dec. 31, 2022, the Matthews International Corp. 401(k) Plan, Pittsburgh, had $391 million in assets, according to the company's most recent Form 5500 filing.