A U.S. District Court judge in Oakland, Calif., again dismissed a lawsuit alleging that multiple pension executives violated their fiduciary duties in restructuring a defined benefit plan due to the splitting of the former DowDuPont Inc. into three companies.
The Oct. 7 decision by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers was in response to an amended complaint by pensioners that was filed soon after the judge dismissed the initial complaint April 27.
"In reaching its decision, the court is mindful of the importance of protecting employee pension benefit plans from employers using improper methods, including hiding behind corporate acts, to evade their obligations to these plans," the judge wrote Oct. 7. "In this case, however, plaintiffs have failed to plead a legally cognizable claim for breach of fiduciary duty based on implementation of the spinoff."
DowDuPont Inc. was split into three companies in 2019 — DuPont de Nemours Inc., Dow Inc. and Corteva Inc. The latter company was assigned management of the $23.4 billion DuPont U.S. Pension and Retirement Plan.
The plaintiffs sued in July 2019 alleging that the defendants failed to properly fund the pension plan, didn't notify participants of the plan's changes and didn't follow plan documents in the case of Thandukolam et al. vs. Corteva Inc. et al.
In her April 27 opinion, the judge wrote that the plaintiffs "fail to state a claim for fiduciary breach under ERISA."