A law partner who receives benefits under an “employee welfare benefit plan” is a “beneficiary” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and is therefore barred from bringing state law claims when he or she is denied coverage, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

In Wolk v. UNUM Life Insurance Co., U.S. Circuit Judge Timothy K. Lewis found that a plain reading of ERISA Section 1002(8) shows that the term “beneficiary” includes “partner-employers” who are designated to receive benefits.