A U.S. District Court judge in Milwaukee has rejected a petition by Kerry Inc. to dismiss a lawsuit by a 401(k) plan participant who alleged violations of ERISA by the company and its fiduciaries.
The participant accused the plan of charging excessive record-keeping fees and managed-account fees in the case of Joshua Walter vs. Kerry Inc. et al.
Mr. Walter sued the company and its fiduciaries in April 2021, seeking class-action status.
Reviewing documents supplied by the plaintiff, U.S. District Court Judge Brett H. Ludwig wrote on May 27 that this information “is sufficiently plausible to support a claim for breach of the fiduciary duty of prudence. Whether it suffices after the factual record is developed at summary judgment is for another day.”
Mr. Ludwig also rejected the defendants’ request to dismiss the allegation that Kerry violated ERISA’s duty by failing to monitor other fiduciaries.
However, the judge dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint that defendants violated ERISA’s fiduciary duty of loyalty rules because the plaintiff didn’t allege self-dealing.
The Kerry Inc. Savings Plan, Beloit, Wis., had assets of $516 million as of Dec. 31, 2020, according to its latest Form 5500.