A federal judge in Cincinnati dismissed allegations of ERISA violations filed by participants in a 401(k) plan run by TriHealth Inc.
The initial complaint, filed in July 2019 and later amended, accused plan fiduciaries of allowing high fees and keeping poor-performing investments in the plan's menu. The plaintiffs sought class-action status.
"The facts as pled do not raise a plausible inference that defendants breached their fiduciary duties," U.S. District Court Judge Matthew W. McFarland wrote Sept. 24.
"Plaintiffs have failed to assert sufficient allegations to support their claim that defendants breached their duty of prudence by permitting the plan to allegedly incur allegedly excessive administrative fees," Mr. McFarland added.
Because plaintiffs didn't provide sufficient data to support their argument, "the court cannot presume that the plan's administrative fees are unjustifiably high or that defendants imprudently permitted the plan to incur those fees," in Forman et al. vs. TriHealth Inc. et al.
In rejecting the plaintiffs' argument that plan fiduciaries kept poor-performing options in the investment lineup, Mr. McFarland wrote that plaintiffs "failed to assert sufficient facts to plausibly assert defendants breached their fiduciary duties,"
Mr. McFarland criticized this allegation because plaintiffs "failed to sufficiently describe a comparable benchmark and sufficiently allege actionable underperformance."
The TriHealth Inc. Retirement Plan, Cincinnati, had $365.3 million in assets as of Dec. 31, 2019, according to its latest Form 5500 filed with the Labor Department.