No Remedy for Wrong Information Given to Participant

November 3, 2005 ( - The US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ruled that ERISA provides no remedy to a plan participant who was inaccurately told he was required to participate in a profit sharing plan.

In granting summary judgment in favor of the plan and its fiduciaries, the court found that Ronald Toke had sought remedies that are unavailable under ERISA because he had already been paid all benefits he was owed, BNA reports.   In addition, the court said that even if there was a fiduciary breach,  any fiduciary breach claim under ERISA must seek relief on behalf of the plan as a whole, and Toke sought individualized relief.

Toke alleged that the fiduciaries of the profit sharing plan breached their ERISA fiduciary duties by telling him that he was required to participate in the plan, even though the plan clearly gave employees of Russ Hadick & Associates the option to voluntarily opt out of the plan.    He also alleged that the plan fiduciaries failed to provide him with a copy of the summary plan description and summary annual report and that this failure was a violation of ERISA, which entitled him to damages, according to BNA.

On the issue of the failure to provide a plan SPD and summary annual report, the court said“These are alleged reporting and disclosure procedural violations. Yet, ERISA does not provide for substantive damages for procedural violations.”   The court also dismissed Toke’s claim that the fiduciaries breached their duties by incorrectly telling him he had no choice but to participate in the plan, saying that even if this was a fiduciary breach, Toke sought monetary damages and monetary damages are not available under ERISA.

The case isToke v. Russ Hadick & Associates Profit Sharing Plan and Trust, S.D. Ohio, No. 3:04-CV-222, 10/27/05.