6th Circuit: Employees' Consent to Arbitration Does Not Bind Retirement Plan in ERISA Class Action

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In a case of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled that an ERISA class action against business-supply company Cintas cannot be kicked to arbitration because the claims were brought on behalf of the company’s retirement plan, which is not bound by individual arbitration agreements signed by the plaintiffs.

Former Cintas employees Raymond Hawkins and Robin Lung filed their putative class action under Section 502(a)(2) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, alleging Cintas breached the fiduciary duties it owed to the company’s retirement plan. Cintas sought to compel the plaintiffs to arbitration.