A U.S. District Court in Chicago again dismissed a complaint by a participant in an Abbott Laboratories 401(k) plan that fiduciaries violated their ERISA duties when an impostor looted the participant's account.
The participant, Heide K. Bartnett, is a former employee of Abbott who kept her retirement money in the 401(k) plan. She sued in April, saying that $245,000 was transferred from her account without her knowledge.
She blamed Abbott and the plan's record keeper, Alight Solutions, for allowing the money to be transferred to an internet address in India before she could take steps to stop the fraud.
"The complaint fails to allege any fiduciary acts taken by Abbott Labs, no less link them to the alleged theft," U.S. District Judge Thomas N. Durkin wrote in his Oct. 2, opinion dismissing the claim against Abbott but rejecting a dismissal request by Alight Solutions.
Ms. Barnett filed an amended complaint against Abbott, but Mr. Durkin rejected it on Monday.
"The court previously dismissed Bartnett's duty to monitor claim against the Abbott defendants because the conclusory allegations in her original complaint amounted to 'nothing more than speculation,'" the judge wrote.
Ms. Bartnett's amended complaint contained a dozen new allegations, but "none of them speak to whether the Abbott defendants monitored or failed to monitor Alight's performance vis-a-vis the Abbott Labs Stock Retirement Plan" Mr. Durkin wrote. "The allegations focus instead on Alight's performance as an administrator for other plans."
The judge noted that Ms. Bartnett and Abbott "started limited discovery" in November. "Once this limited discovery closes, Bartnett may move for leave to file a second amended complaint if she reasonably believes that new allegations address the deficiencies described in this opinion," he added. "But for now ... the court finds that Bartnett has failed to state a fiduciary duty claim based on the duties of prudence and monitoring.