Thursday, May 15, 2014

Court Says Catholic Health System's Pension Plans Qualify As "Church Plans" Under ERISA

In Overall v. Ascension, (ED MI, May 9, 2014), a Michigan federal district court-held that the pension plans of Ascension Health Alliance are "church plans" under ERISA, even though the plans were not "established by" a church.  Disagreeing with two other recent decisions from other districts (1, 2), the court held that it is sufficient that Ascension Health Alliance is controlled by and associated with the Roman Catholic Church. The court dismissed for lack of standing plaintiff's claim that permitting organizations associated with a church to claim church plan status would violate the Establishment Clause. Fiduciary Matters Blog discusses the decision.