A U.S. District Court judge in Durango, Colo., dismissed a complaint against The Vail Corp. by a former participant in the company's 401(k) plan who alleged ERISA violations by failing to exercise a duty of loyalty to participants and a duty of prudence in managing the plan.
"Plaintiff puts forth no facts suggesting that any of the defendant's action were for the purpose of benefiting itself," wrote U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson in a Jan. 6 opinion rejecting the duty-of-loyalty claim.
The plaintiff's "allegations fall short of a valid claim for breach of duty of prudence," the judge wrote in rejecting arguments that fees were too high, fund choices were too expensive and the fund lineup should have emphasized cheaper index funds vs. more expensive actively managed funds.
"While it is true that many of the funds defendant offered in its plan were more expensive and underperformed alternatives, this was not true of all the plan's offerings," Mr. Jackson wrote in the case of Debra Kurtz vs. The Vail Corp., which was filed in February and amended in May and which sought class-action status. "The complaint includes no direct allegations of imprudence in Vail's fund selection, retention or management process."
The Vail Resorts 401(k) Retirement Plan, Broomfield, Colo., had $384 million in assets as of Dec. 31, 2019, according to the latest Form 5500.