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Enron Retirement Plan Litigation May Have Far-Reaching Significance for Plan Fiduciaries  

Author:  Jeffrey Bryant.

Source: Volume 21, Number 03, Spring 2004 , pp.253-271(19)

Journal of Taxation of Investments

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Predictably, lawsuits have been brought by a host of injured parties against Enron and its accomplices. Among them, Enron employees and the Labor Department are seeking to recover millions in retirement money lost as the company fell into bankruptcy. In September 2003, a significant opinion was issued by a Texas federal district court in the Enron retirement plan case. The lengthy ruling of District Judge Harmon on Enron defendants’ motion to dismiss contains notable pronouncements concerning fiduciary responsibilities and obligations with respect to employee pension benefit plans. Often, a major event precipitates a shift in the law. Rule changes regarding the provision of accounting services is perhaps the most publicized fallout from Enron. However, as the Texas court ruling portends, the Enron debacle may also produce momentous changes in the law of fiduciary duties. This article analyzes Judge Harmon’s opinion and what it potentially means for trustees and other fiduciaries, particularly in the area of employee benefits.


Affiliations:  1: Barton School of Business of Wichita State University.

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