Eversource Energy Co. has agreed to settle an ERISA lawsuit filed by four former and current participants in a company 401(k) plan, according to a notice filed Jan. 31 in a U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn.
The notice of an agreement in principle, achieved after mediation, didn't provide terms. Details will be filed with the court by March 10, the notice said.
The plaintiffs sued the company and plan fiduciaries in June 2020, seeking class action status. They complained about allegedly high fees, poor-performing investments and failure to disclose costs and risks of investment in Garthwait et al. vs. Eversource Energy Co. et al.
The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, but U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall rejected it in July 2022 "because genuine issues of material fact remain as to each of the plaintiffs' claims."
The parties' disagreements over fees, investments and plan monitoring led to the judge rejecting the defendants' request.
The plaintiffs also accused the defendants of breaching ERISA's duty of loyalty, which covers self-dealing.
"Because a reasonable juror could find in the plaintiffs' favor on the basis of the record of evidence, which includes conflicting expert testimony, the court cannot resolve these questions as a matter of law," the judge wrote.
A motion for summary judgment is usually filed after the parties have completed discovery, giving a judge the opportunity to review details of a case. A motion to dismiss, usually requested soon after a complaint is filed, argues that the plaintiff has failed to state a claim.
The Eversource 401(k) Plan, Hartford, Conn., had $4.4 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2021, according to the latest Form 5500.