• Supreme Court Finds that Party Need Not "Prevail" on Merits to be Awarded Attorney's Fees Under ERISA
  • June 16, 2010
  • Law Firm: Kaye Scholer LLP - New York Office
  • On May 24, 2010, a unanimous Supreme Court held that, under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), a party need not “prevail” in a litigation to be awarded attorney’s fees, but must only achieve “some degree of success on the merits.” Hardt v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 09-448 (May 24, 2010). The decision can be seen as a victory for aggrieved parties under ERISA who might have been deterred from bringing suit if they could not recover attorney’s fees without prevailing. As discussed below, however, it also can be seen as a slight reduction in the discretion afforded courts in approving fees under ERISA.