Supreme Court considering review of Northwestern retirement plan lawsuit


Daily file photo by Isabelle Sarraf

The Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. The Court announced plans Friday to hear a case against Northwestern.

Isabelle Sarraf, Campus Editor

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court sought federal government input on a suit brought against Northwestern involving its retirement plan.

The original suit, filed against NU in 2016, argued that NU eliminated hundreds of mutual funds provided to those on the retirement plan. Now, NU employees are asking the highest court of the land to undo a March decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which they say created conflicting decisions on pleading claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

The Seventh Circuit’s decision favoring NU created a “heightened pleading standard,” employees said, which differed from decisions made by the Third and Eighth Circuits, which moved similar lawsuits forward against the University of Pennsylvania and Washington University in St. Louis, respectively.

Since 2016, more than 20 elite universities were struck by class action lawsuits alleging retirement plan mismanagement. According to a Bloomberg Law analysis, the move by the Supreme Court to involve federal input means a justice is interested in the retirement dispute — increasing the chances the case will be heard from 1 to 5 percent.

The Court’s decision to consider the NU case comes months after they denied a similar petition by UPenn.

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Twitter: @isabellesarraf

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