A federal court judge in Washington has dismissed an ERISA lawsuit against Georgetown University and fiduciaries of two retirement plans by participants who argued that the plans offered too many investment options, retained too many poor-performing investments and had too many record keepers.
"The case appears to be a lawsuit in search of a theory," wrote U.S. District Amy Jackson Berman on March 31, rejecting the plaintiffs' arguments in the case of Wilcox and McGuire et al. vs. Georgetown University et al.
"Plaintiffs identify ways in which plan management could be different, or even improved, but they have not alleged facts to support a plausible inference that the defendants have failed as fiduciaries," the judge wrote.
The participants in two 403(b) plans sued in February 2018, and a different Washington federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in January 2019. The plaintiffs appealed.However, the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit in a 2-1 ruling in February 2021 said the lower court should have considered plaintiffs' request to file an amended complaint.
The case was remanded to Ms. Berman, who wrote that "the proposed amended complaint does not add much to the original pleading that was dismissed." By refusing to accept the amended complaint, the judge dismissed the lawsuit.
The Georgetown University Defined Contribution Retirement Plan had $2.31 billion in assets, and the Georgetown University Voluntary Contribution Retirement Plan had $856.5 million, both as of Dec. 31, 2021, according to the latest Form 5500 filings for the Washington-based plans.