The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined a petition that it review Tussey et al. vs. ABB Inc. et al., a fiduciary breach case that has been closely watched by the defined contribution plan community.
The court’s decision — denying certiorari — means the complex ruling in March by a federal appeals court in St. Louis remains in effect regarding complaints by participants in two 401(k) plans run by ABB, Cary, N.C.
The request for Supreme Court review was filed in August by the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Jerome J. Schlichter, founding and managing partner of law firm Schlichter, Bogard & Denton. He sought the review because he claimed various appellate courts used different standards to decide complaints about fiduciaries’ “statutory duties of prudence and loyalty,” according to his Supreme Court petition.
In an interview Monday, Mr. Schlichter said the next step will be for the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Mo., to set a date to retry a portion of the original suit that was sent back for further consideration by the appellate court.
The retrial is based on the appellate court’s vacating a ruling — and a $21.8 million judgment against ABB — focusing on ABB’s mapping one investment in the 401(k) plans’ menu, Vanguard’s Wellington Fund, to the Fidelity Freedom Funds target-date series.