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Cases & Deals

March 29, 2019

K&S Defeats Claims of Self-Dealing Against Asset Management Firm in ERISA Class Action

In an ERISA class action concerning SunTrust Banks, Inc.’s 401(k) Plan in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, King & Spalding successfully argued that its client RidgeWorth Capital Management, Inc., a SunTrust-affiliated asset management firm, was not a fiduciary to the Plan and that summary judgment should be granted in its favor.

Plaintiffs, former and current participants in SunTrust’s 401(k) plan, argued that RidgeWorth was a Plan fiduciary because its representatives purportedly provided conflicted investment advice that was a primary basis for Plan investment decisions.  On March 29, 2019, the court ruled in favor of RidgeWorth, holding that Plaintiffs had not raised a genuine issue of material fact that RidgeWorth qualified as a fiduciary under ERISA’s implementing regulations.  This ruling is one of very few addressing what it takes for a class of ERISA participants to impose liability under the statute on an asset management firm.