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Merrimon v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of America

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

July 2, 2014

DENISE MERRIMON and BOBBY S. MOWERY, Plaintiffs, Appellees,
v.
UNUM LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, Defendant, Appellant. DENISE MERRIMON and BOBBY S. MOWERY, Plaintiffs, Appellants,
v.
UNUM LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, Defendant, Appellee

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APPEALS FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MAINE. Hon. Nancy Torresen, U.S. District Judge.

Donald R. Frederico, with whom Catherine R. Connors, Byrne J. Decker, Gavin G. McCarthy, and Pierce Atwood LLP were on brief, for defendant.

James F. Jorden, Waldemar J. Pflepsen, Jr., Michael A. Valerio, Ben V. Seessel, John C. Pitblado, Jorden Burt LLP, and Lisa Tate on brief for American Council of Life Insurers, amicus curiae.

Jeremy P. Blumenfeld, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, J. Michael Weston, and Lederer Weston Craig on brief for Defense Research Institute, amicus curiae.

John C. Bell, Jr., with whom Lee W. Brigham, Bell & Brigham, Stuart T. Rossman, Arielle Cohen, National Consumer Law Center, M. Scott Barrett, and Barrett Wylie LLC were on brief, for plaintiffs.

Before Torruella and Selya, Circuit Judges, and McAuliffe,[*] District Judge.

OPINION

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SELYA, Circuit Judge.

In 1974, Congress enacted the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Pub. L. No. 93-406, 88 Stat. 829, codified as amended at 29 U.S.C. § § 1001-1461. One of ERISA's principal goals is to afford appropriate protection to employees and their beneficiaries with respect to the administration of employee welfare benefit plans. See Nachman Corp. v. Pension Benefit Guar. Corp.,446 U.S. 359, 361-62, 100 S.Ct. 1723, 64 L.Ed.2d 354 (1980). As is true of virtually any prophylactic statute, interpretive questions lurk at the margins. This class action, which arises out of an ...


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