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Are Forum Selection Clauses in ERISA Plan Documents Enforceable?

Are Forum Selection Clauses in ERISA Plan Documents Enforceable?

A forum selection clause is a provision in a contract or employee benefit plan that requires any litigation about the terms of the contract or plan to be litigated in a particular court or forum. In many cases, you will find that the court named in a forum selection clause is not terribly convenient for individuals who are trying to appeal the insurance company denial of employee benefits, such as long-term disability benefits. A forum selection clause might even require the lawsuit to occur out of state. In most cases, the forum selection clause favors the convenience of the insurance company over the individual seeking to collect benefits under the plan.

Many federal district and appellate courts that have considered the legal validity and enforcement of forum selection clauses have found them to be presumptively valid. This means that generally, courts will uphold forum selection clauses, whether it is detrimental to or inconvenient for the individual bringing the claim. Some courts, however, have found that the requirements of ERISA with respect to employee benefit plans overshadow and in some cases, invalidate, forum selection clauses.

In any case, participants in employee benefits plans should be aware of forum selections clauses and the impact that an enforceable cause could have on their ability to enforce their rights to benefits under the plan. It is a consideration in choosing counsel and perhaps even in choosing whether to continue to appeal the denial of long-term disability benefits, depending on the level of travel and costs involved in maintain litigation in a remote jurisdiction. Bonnici Law Group provides client-focused representation throughout the ERISA claims process. We are here to consider the evidence in support of your ERISA long-term disability claim, evaluate your claim, and develop the strongest and most effective strategy for fighting any denials of coverage that you may receive. Allow us to handle your legal needs while you focus on your physical and emotional health. Contact the ERISA long-term disability attorneys of Bonnici Law Group at 619-259-5199 or help@bonnicilawgroup.com. p.Rz_

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