TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Federal Judge Rules For NYU In First Of Many Lawsuits Alleging Major Universities Mismanage 403(b) Retirement Plans For Faculty And Staff

NYU (2016)Wall Street Journal, U.S. Judge Rules for NYU in $358 Million Retirement-Fees Case:

A judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of New York University, dismissing allegations that the university caused participants in its retirement-savings plans to pay excessive fees.

The opinion, issued by Judge Katherine Forrest of the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, is the first to result from a trial of one of a wave of lawsuits filed two years ago against more than a dozen big-name universities alleging the retirement plans for their employees are too confusing and costly [including Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Northwestern, Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt, USC, and Yale].

“The court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that while there were deficiencies in the [NYU Retirement Plan] Committee’s processes—including that several members displayed a concerning lack of knowledge relevant to the Committee’s mandate—plaintiffs have not proven that the Committee acted imprudently or that the Plans suffered losses as a result,” the judge said in her opinion, which followed a bench trial this spring. The plaintiffs had alleged losses of more than $358 million.

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