I have returned to blogging after stepping away for awhile from regular posting for a number of reasons ; foremost among them, however, is wanting to talk regularly about the continuing evolution in this area of the law toward a more even playing field for both employees and employers, and away from the many structural barriers that have long handicapped employees pursuing relief.  This very recent Eighth Circuit decision on group life claims is a perfect example of this phenomenon.  It wasn’t that long ago that various limitations on prosecuting denial of benefit and equitable relief claims under ERISA made these types of claims – where the administration of the group life program resulted in someone being unenrolled, contrary to their belief, in the coverage they thought they had purchased – nearly impossible to prosecute successfully. Now, however, as this decision reflects, the growing recognition by the courts that ERISA’s equitable relief remedies are flexible enough to address a multitude of scenarios makes these types of claims – where an administrative error involving both the employer and the group life carrier resulted in the life insurance coverage for a particular employee never coming into existence under a strict reading of the terms of the plan – not just viable but winnable for the beneficiary of the deceased employee.