A federal court judge in Louisville, Ky., has denied for a second time a request by Humana Inc. and its fiduciaries to dismiss an ERISA complaint by former employees who alleged the company's 401(k) plan charged excessive record-keeping fees and investment management fees.
"Defendants do not argue that there is new evidence, clear error, or manifest injustice, but that there has been an intervening change in controlling law compelling dismissal of plaintiffs' claims," U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings wrote on Dec. 2 in the case of Moore et al. vs. Humana Inc. et al.
She was referring to the defendants' argument that a ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Cincinnati, in June upholding a lower court's dismissal of an ERISA complaint in the case of Smith vs. CommonSpirit Health et al. This judicial circuit includes Kentucky.
The Humana defendants said their complaint should be governed by the appeals court's decision. However, the judge ruled that the Humana case was different because plaintiffs had made an "apples-to-apples" comparison of differing fees whereas the CommonSpirit plaintiffs made an "apples-to-oranges" comparison of fees.
"Plaintiffs' allegations distinguish this case from CommonSpirit, so CommonSpirit does not change this court's previous ruling," wrote the judge, who first rejected Humana's motion to dismiss in March. The plaintiffs, who are seeking class-action status, filed their original lawsuit in April 2021
As of Dec. 31, the Humana Retirement Savings Plan, Louisville, Ky. had $7.35 billion in assets, according to its most recent Form 5500.