A federal court judge in Cincinnati has dismissed an ERISA lawsuit against Kroger Co. and its fiduciaries, saying a 401(k) plan participant's allegation of excessive record-keeping fees lacked sufficient factual support for her argument.
"Plaintiff fails to allege that the Kroger plan's record-keeping fees were excessive when compared to services rendered," wrote U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Black on Thursday in the case of Sigetich vs. Kroger et al. The original lawsuit was filed in November 2021.
"The plaintiff fails to give any context to the services rendered to the Kroger plan or to the services rendered to her comparable plans" to back up her complaint about excessive fees, the judge wrote.
He noted that other plans cited by the plaintiff as being comparable varied greatly in asset size and number of employees. "These differences in size call into question plaintiff's comparable plans and whether the Kroger plan's record-keeping fees were excessive relative (to) the services rendered," he wrote.
The judge dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, meaning the complaint cannot be refiled in his court.
The Kroger Co. 401(k) Retirement Savings Account Plan, Cincinnati, had $8.37 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2021, according to the latest Form 5500.