Novel Suit by Kentucky Pension Beneficiaries Continues

A Kentucky court decided in favor of the beneficiaries of Kentucky's Public Retirement System by striking down a motion to dismiss their suit, which alleges that administrators and their advisors breached their fiduciary responsibilities.

In December 2017, Kentucky public pension system ("KRS") beneficiaries sued various KRS trustees, officers,  advisers and investment managers in state court; Mayberry, et al. v. KKR & Co., L.P., et al., No. 17-CI-1348 ("Mayberry"). Recently, the Court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss, rejecting arguments that plaintiffs lacked standing. We have previously discussed the heightened scrutiny of active management of public pension assets in our Alert "PA Commission Scrutinizes Active Management of Public Pension Assets."

Mayberry is a novel case where plan beneficiaries directly sued to hold public pension officials, as well as their advisors and investment managers, responsible for KRS's liabilities. Plaintiffs—members of KRS—have asserted various claims, including breaches of fiduciary duties, aiding and abetting those breaches, joint enterprise and civil conspiracy.

Defendants moved to dismiss, challenging plaintiffs' standing to sue derivatively on behalf of KRS or as taxpayers, among other arguments. Notably, both KRS and Kentucky's Attorney General declined the opportunity to pursue the claims now being brought by plaintiffs. The court, however, found plaintiffs had standing both "derivatively as members and beneficiaries of KRS" and as taxpayers. As against the third-party advisors, the Court held the "complaint . . . alleges facts sufficient to imply a common law fiduciary relationship between the [advisors] and KRS's members," specifically noting allegations of "superior skill, experience and expertise . . . ."

With one exception, the court ruled that all claims may proceed against all defendants.

We will continue to monitor future developments.

Lawyer Contacts

For more information, please contact your principal Jones Day representative or the lawyers listed below. General email messages may be sent using our "Contact Us" form, which can be found at

Andy Stanton 

Courtney L. Snyder 

Jayant W. Tambe 
New York 

John P. Putney 

Jones Day publications should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general information purposes only and may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication or proceeding without the prior written consent of the Firm, to be given or withheld at our discretion. To request reprint permission for any of our publications, please use our "Contact Us" form, which can be found on our website at The mailing of this publication is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The views set forth herein are the personal views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Firm.