Judge Denies Request for Immediate Appeal in Church Plan Case

by Thomas E. Clark, Jr. JD, LLM – March 18, 2014

The judge in Rollins v. Dignity Health has denied the hospital’s request to immediately appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals the issue of whether the pension plan qualifies for the church plan exemption to ERISA. See our earlier post discussing the court’s decision denying the motion to dismiss. In a 5 page opinion, the court agreed with defendants that the issue will ultimately be dispositive, but not to the point that it meets the 9th Circuit’s standard for an immediate appeal, or what is called an interlocutory appeal.

So what does this mean? It should mean that the case now moves forward with discovery (i.e. exchange of documents, depositions, etc…) barring any other procedural moves by the defendants. And defendants will get their opportunity to appeal after the case has run its normal course (i.e. discovery, summary judgments motions and/or trial).

Overall, we now have 2 cases in the discovery phase and three motions to dismiss still outstanding. When those decisions happen, we will report on them here.

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