I agree with the Court that petitioner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (hereinafter petitioner) has a conflict of interest. A third-party insurance company that administers an ERISA-governed disability plan and that pays for benefits out of its own coffers profits with each benefits claim it rejects.
I see no reason why the Court must volunteer, however, that an employer who administers its own ERISA-governed plan “clear[ly]” has a conflict of interest. See ante, at 5. At least one Court of Appeals has thought that while the insurance-company administrator has a conflict, the employer-administrator does not. See Colucci v. Agfa Corp. Severance Pay Plan, 431 F.3d 170, 179 (CA4 2005). I would not resolve this question until it has been presented and argued, and the Court’s unnecessary and uninvited resolution must be regarded as dictum.
Justice Scalia, with whom Justice Thomas joins, dissenting, Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Glenn, 2008 U.S. LEXIS 5030 (U.S. June 19, 2008)
Justice Scalia’s dissent provides a useful perspective on the implications of the majority opinion in Glenn. If the majority’s opinion does what Justice Scalia says, then the opinion accomplishes more for ERISA claimants than has been claimed for it thus far. A list of implications follows the overview presented below.