I returned Friday from South Dakota Law School’s ERISA Symposium. The program was well attended by attorneys, law professors, students and members of the public.

One of the highlights for me was the presentation by Peter Stris on litigation before United States Supreme Court. Peter has had several ERISA cases before the Court, including LaRue, and he related his experience in an informative style with dry humor from time to time that really engaged the audience.

John Morrison took up a discussion of discretionary clauses bans which we took up in a panel discussion. Of course John has some experience with that subject, not only through the NAIC, but also as the prevailing party in the matter of Standard v. Morrison. Professor Radha Pathak joined in this discussion and related a number of issues arising in this context which will be addressed in an upcoming article for the South Dakota Law School.

Professor Roger Baron presented on several hot topics in the ERISA health plan subrogation field. I joined David Abney in a discussion of these topics with Roger. As always, the subrogation topic draws varying points of view, but the interplay of opinions really helped to sharpen perspectives on the issues.

I concluded the program with an evaluation of ERISA after health care reform. In particular, I examined the DOL claims procedure, the new external review and several open questions that affect judicial review in light of the PPACA changes. All of these points are given in-depth analysis in an article I wrote that will be published in an upcoming issue of the South Dakota Law Review.

Congratulations to the law school staff, the bright students on the law review staff, Professor Roger Baron and Dean Barry Vickrey on an excellent ERISA symposium covering highly relevant issues. At the risk of some self-promotion, I recommend the upcoming ERISA Symposium issue of the law review for a good source of timely information on ERISA developments.