A U.S. District Court judge in Colorado Springs, Colo., has ruled for CenturyLink Inc. in an ERISA lawsuit filed by participants in the telecommunications company's 401(k) plan.
The participants sued in December 2017, alleging that the 401(k) plan fiduciaries violated their duties under ERISA by offering a large cap domestic stock fund that was a poor performer and by failing to prudently monitor the fund to make improvements.
"The evidence in the record shows that CIM's design of the fund was prudent and that CIM diligently monitored the fund," Judge Christine M. Arguello wrote March 5, granting the company's request for summary judgment on the charges. The initials CIM stand for CenturyLink Investment Management Co., the 401(k) plan's fiduciary and a defendant along with the corporate parent, CenturyLink Inc., of Monroe, La.
"The evidence indicates that CIM's evaluation of the merits of the fund's design satisfies the prudent person standard" of ERISA, the judge wrote.
"The evidence indicates that CIM's oversight of the suitability of the fund satisfies the prudent person standard," the judge added. "CIM exercised reasonable care, skill and caution, and it reevaluated the fund periodically as conditions changed. Therefore, CIM has shown that it satisfied its duty of prudence with respect to the monitoring procedures."
The CenturyLink Dollars & Sense 401(k) Plan had assets of $5.14 billion as of Dec. 31, 2018, according to the latest Form 5500.