Three former employees of Trader Joe's Co. have dropped their ERISA lawsuit against the company and 401(k) plan fiduciaries, according to a notice filed Feb. 3 in a U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
The plaintiffs gave no reason for their decision in the case of Kong et al. vs. Trader Joe's Co. et al. A fourth plaintiff was dismissed from the case in November 2022.
The notice signed by U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson said the plaintiffs' claims were dismissed with prejudice, meaning they cannot re-file in the district court. The plaintiffs had been seeking class-action status. The judge's order dismissed the class-action request without prejudice, meaning another plaintiff could sue Trader Joe's in the district court.
Plaintiffs and defendants must pay their own costs and attorneys' fees, the notice said.
The decision to drop their lawsuit comes after plaintiffs scored a victory in April 2022 when a federal appeals court in San Francisco overturned a lower court's dismissal of their ERISA violation allegations.
"The district court erred in dismissing plaintiffs' claim for breach of fiduciary duty," a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in reversing and remanding the case back to the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
The plaintiffs sued Trader Joe's in June 2020. Mr. Anderson dismissed the complaint in September 2020, allowing participants to amend their complaint. He dismissed the amended complaint in November 2020, writing that the participants didn't provide sufficient facts to support their allegations.
Trader Joe's Company Retirement Plan, Monrovia, Calif., had $2.8 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2021, according to the latest Form 5500.