When the U.S. Supreme Court issues an opinion, it can raise as many questions as it answers. Foremost among them: How will the lower courts apply it? We may soon start learning the answer to that question with respect to M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, in which the Supreme Court directed the Court of Appeals to apply ‘‘ordinary principles of contract law’’—not a presumption in favor of plaintiffs—when deciding whether a contract promised lifetime medical benefits to retirees (17 PBD, 1/27/15).
The case has now been remanded to the Sixth Circuit, re-briefed, and re-argued. The court’s forthcoming opinion will likely shed light on how ‘‘ordinary principles of contract law’’ apply to welfare benefits in the collective bargaining context and, potentially, other ERISA contexts.
This article traces the history of the M&G case, describes the parties’ arguments on remand, and, based on the briefs and the oral argument, offers a prediction on what will happen next.
Reproduced with permission from Pension & Benefits Daily, 04 PBD, 1/7/16. Copyright 2016 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com