Kraft Fee Suit Plaintiffs Lose Jury Trial Effort

March 25, 2008 ( - Because 401(k) participants suing Kraft Foods Global Inc., over plan fees are relying on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) for their claims, they do not have a right to a jury trial.

That was the bottom line of a recent ruling by a federal judge in Illinois in the Kraft participants’ excessive fee suit. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois asserted that Section 502(a) (2) of ERISA does not give litigants a right to a jury trial.

Schenkier rejected plaintiffs’ contention that a distinction between legal and equitable remedies sought under 502(a)(2) means the participants have the right to have their claims heard by a jury.

The participants’ lawsuit alleged that Kraft and its plan fiduciaries breached their duty of prudence under ERISA by failing to contain plan costs and by permitting the plan to pay unreasonable fees to service providers for such services as recordkeeping and investment management (See Kraft 401(k) Fee Suit Lacks Improper Revenue Sharing Charges ).

The latest ruling in George v. Kraft Foods Global Inc., N.D. Ill., No. 07 C 1713, 3/20/08 is here .