Back Again at the Crossroads of Securities Law and ERISA

Here is a case from a week or so ago that I haven’t had time to post on yet, but which warranted a little more discussion than suited inclusion in Monday’s Thanksgiving Week potpourri post. In his latest ruling in In re Boston Scientific Corporation ERISA Litigation, Judge Tauro of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts delves in depth into the question of whether and when putative class representatives satisfy the requirements to represent a class in an ERISA breach of fiduciary duty case involving alleged securities law violations by the defendants. Building on the work of Judge Gertner, of the same bench, in her opinion in Bendaoud, issued two months ago, Judge Tauro analyzes the question of whether the requirements of both ERISA and constitutional standing, including injury in fact by the putative class representatives, are satisfied, finding that the requirements were not satisfied. The case provides a good tutorial on these issues. Beyond that, however, of perhaps even more interest, given the ongoing development of the law with regard to the intersection of securities violations and ERISA, is that the court’s analysis is heavily influenced by certain defenses to standing and injury in fact that are borrowed from securities law. Normally, in most instances, we are seeing ERISA used as a broader forum for attacking these types of violations, as compared to relying on the securities laws to do so, but in this case, doctrines developed as part of securities litigation serve to blunt a related ERISA case.