In a unanimous Feb. 20, 2008 decision, the Supreme Court held that individual participants in defined contribution plans can sue to recover losses incurred by their individual plan accounts. The long-anticipated decision in LaRue v. DeWolff, Boberg & Associates, Inc. will affect the rights and obligations of participants, sponsors and fiduciaries of all defined contribution plans, including 401(k), profit-sharing and employee stock ownership plans.

LaRue was a participant in the DeWolff, Boberg & Associates Inc. 401(k) plan, a defined contribution plan that permitted participants to self-direct the investment of their contributions. The plan fiduciaries failed to follow his investment directions, and LaRue brought suit in district court, seeking money damages equal to the amount by which his account had been diminished (approximately $150,000). LaRue based his claim on ERISA �502(a)(3), which permits participants, beneficiaries or fiduciaries to sue to obtain appropriate equitable relief to redress violations or enforce provisions of ERISA or the plan.

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