In this case, Mr. Carnes alleges a conflict of interest based on (1) the dual roles of Devon as both sponsor and administrator of the plan and (2) belief that as a company plan, Devon is solely responsible if the plan becomes underfunded making it in the best interest of the company to pay as few benefits as possible. Prior to Glenn, the argument was untenable in this circuit. See, e.g., Colucci v. Agfa Corp. Severance Pay Plan, 431 F. 3d 170, 179 (4th Cir. 2005) (”We question how a company that creates, funds, and administers a plan for its own employees’ benefit can, from those facts alone, be presumed to have a financial conflict in administering that plan when the company remains free to end the plan altogether.”) . . .
The rather sweeping language in Glenn may impact Collucci and like authorities.
Carnes v. Devon Energy Corp., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54279 (S.D. W. Va. July 16, 2008)
I wanted to share this case that Rob Hoskins and I have been discussing on erisaboard.com. Rob posted this case and noted the reference to Colucci v. Agfa Corp. Severance Pay Plan. The Glenn decision may be a vindication of the plaintiff’s position in Colluci as noted by the district court in the recent Carnes decision.