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Bryan Shay and Jeff Brenner Author Article on Supreme Court's ERISA/Church Plan Decision for DRI's ERISA Report
In the September 8, 2017 issue of DRI's ERISA Report, Insurance Law Principal Bryan M. Shay and Associate Jeffrey M. Brenner authored the article, "Supreme Court Clarifies ERISA’s Church Plan Exemption, But Questions Remain." The article examines the Supreme Court of the United States' June 5, 2017 unanimous decision in the consolidated matter of Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, 198 L. Ed. 2d 96 (2017) in which the Court held that "employee benefit plans maintained by a 'principal-purpose organization' can qualify as a 'church plan' for purposes of ERISA, even if the plans were not originally established by a church."
The authors note in their analysis:
"One of the developments in ERISA litigation over the past few years has been an increased focus on the provision in the statute that exempts so-called 'church plans' from ERISA’s control.
"In reaching its unanimous conclusion in Stapleton that an employee benefit plan maintained by a church-affiliated organization is exempt from ERISA, the Court may have addressed the 'recent wave' of litigation regarding the scope of the 'church plan' exemption. However, it appears that several waves may be following this one, as the Court’s opinion appears to invite further litigation on several issues."