Intel Corp. Investment Policy Committee v. Sulyma

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: ERISA
  • Date Filed: February 26, 2020
  • Case #: 18–1116
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: ALITO, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.
  • Full Text Opinion

ERISA §1113's three-year statute of limitations for breaches in which a plaintiff has "actual knowledge" requires a factual showing that the plaintiff was actually aware of the information that constitutes the alleged breach. A showing of constructive knowledge is insufficient.


The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) imposes a three-year statute of limitation from “the earliest date on which the plaintiff had actual knowledge” of an alleged fiduciary breach. 29 U.S.C. §1113. Respondent filed a class action suit, alleging a breach of fiduciary duty by Petitioners. Filing occurred more than three years after Petitioners’ disclosure of their investment decisions to Respondent. Petitioners argued that Respondent knew or should have known more than three years prior to the suit because of their disclosure. The district court granted summary judgment to Petitioners and the Ninth Circuit reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the term “actual knowledge” requires a factual demonstration that the plaintiff was actually aware of the information. The Supreme Court reasoned that, although ERISA does not itself define “actual knowledge,” its meaning is plain and does not include constructive or imputed knowledge. The Court further reasoned that Congress’s explicit, distinct inclusion of both constructive and actual knowledge elsewhere in ERISA precludes any implicit inclusion of constructive knowledge in this provision. Therefore, because Petitioners did not establish “actual knowledge,” summary judgment was premature. AFFIRMED.



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