Court Denies Venue Change for ERISA Case

August 29, 2005 ( - A judge in the US District Court for the District of Maryland decided that it was the proper venue for an ERISA case since one of the plaintiffs lived in Maryland and was denied benefits while he lived in Maryland.

In the case of Cross v. Fleet Reserve Association Pension Plan, D. Md., No. WDQ-05-CV-0001, 8/23/05, the court denied the defendant’s motion to change venue, BNA reports.   According to the court opinion, ERISA says a claim can be brought in a district where the plan is administered or where the breach took place.

The defendants could not deny that one of the plaintiffs in the case was a resident of Maryland when he was denied benefits for which he is now suing.So the breach occurred in the District of Maryland, according to the court opinion.   The court rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the plan was administered in the district, though, saying the plan could not be “found” in the district simply because an employee traveled to Maryland often for work.

Other arguments for the change in venue were also rejected.   Even though the plan is administered in Eastern Virginia, that is close enough in proximity to Maryland for the venue to be convenient and the court found no reason the plan could not receive a fair trial in Maryland.