Cases & Deals

National retailer defends appeal in health care benefits case

Clients National retailer

Jones Day represented a national retailer in an appeal regarding health care benefits. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the retailer did not act unreasonably or abuse its discretion in seeking reimbursement for health care benefits from a plan participant's personal injury settlement pursuant to the reimbursement provision contained in the Associate Benefits Book, which the employer treated as a plan document. The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's conclusion that the reimbursement provision was not binding on the plan participant because it was not part of the formal plan documents. Finding that the employer's interpretation "deeming the Associate Benefits Book to be a plan document" was consistent with the language and goals of the plan and the requirements of ERISA, the Eighth Circuit refused to allow a participant who received benefits in accordance with the Associate Benefits Book "to deny the corresponding responsibilities and obligations that are clearly imposed on the participant in the same document - what is good for the goose is good for the gander."