• Pipefitters Local 636 Insurance Fund v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Michigan
  • July 14, 2011 | Authors: Justin Gundlach; Arthur N. Lerner
  • Law Firm: Crowell & Moring LLP - Washington Office
  • The Sixth Circuit ruled that the district court was unable to issue an injunction ordering disclosure of certain documents because the Sixth Circuit had previously held that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) had no fiduciary duty to disclose the documents at issue.  In the initial complaint, the Pipefitters Local 636 Insurance Fund alleged that BCBSM was in breach of its fiduciary duties under ERISA by withholding information about its discount arrangements with medical providers.   

    The district court originally had dismissed the lawsuit and was partially reversed when the Sixth Circuit held that BCBSM was an ERISA fiduciary, but was not acting as such when it refused to disclose information regarding discount arrangements.

    Upon remand, the district court found that BCBSM was a plan fiduciary and ordered disclosure of the discount information.  BCBSM appealed, alleging that such a ruling was foreclosed by the Sixth Circuit's previous opinion.  The Sixth Circuit agreed, stating that to allow the decision to stand would reduce its previous ruling to "an advisory opinion from the Court informing [the Fund] of the deficiencies of the complaint and giving it an opportunity to cure those deficiencies."