Ninth Circuit Rules District Court Abused Its Discretion In Failing to Consider Insurer’s Pre-appeal Conduct and Kicks Case Back to Lower Court to Calculate Attorney Fees in ERISA Appeal

Contact Us for More Information

Group Disability Benefits Plan for Gynecologic Oncology Associates Partners, LLC (“the Plan”), represented by Marc S. Schechter and Corey F. Schechter of Butterfield Schechter LLP, is entitled to attorney fees incurred while defending itself during forced litigation by insurer Sun Life's wrongful denial of legitimate benefits claims, and its subsequent appeal of the Plan's award of attorney fees. In the October 31, 2017, Ninth Circuit published opinion, the Court notes, “A party like Sun Life should not be able to appeal from a litigation fee award, even on an issue justifying appellate review, and thereby impose significant costs on the appellee in defending the fee award, while taking comfort in the knowledge that any potential appellate fee award against it will be judged solely on the basis of its appellate arguments on the fee issue.”

Judge Berzon, in a concurring opinion, noted that “…parties who seek fees on a successful ERISA fees appeal should not be required to prove their entitlement to fees a second time.”

Partner Marc Schechter said about the recent decision, “This case has been ongoing since 2009. It is rewarding after so many years to see the law and justice upheld, but we continue to be in a holding pattern as the matter has been referred back to the district court to determine reasonable fees to be awarded.”

Click here to view the entire Opinion.

Retirement Plans

We help establish a customized plan that meets regulatory requirements as a tax qualified plan. Following implementation, our attorneys can assist clients and their plan administrator with regular reviews and updates to help with regulatory compliance for the plan's operation, and continued effectiveness in meeting the client's specific goals.


We are dedicated to employee ownership. When you come to us for ESOP services, you receive influential legal counsel who stand beside you to help you stay informed, in compliance, and abreast of the latest developments-all to help you realize your plan goals as fully and effectively as possible.


A QDRO is a specially designed court order that is required for the division of retirement benefits in a family law case. Many family law attorneys do not possess the expertise necessary to divide retirement benefits or stock options upon divorce. We have extensive experience in dividing qualified plans, government plans, IRAs and stock options between the employee spouse and non-employee spouse.

Butterfield Schechter LLP provides the information in this website as a service to its clients and visitors to the site. This website is for information purposes only and is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The information in this website is provided "as is," and while the information in this website is updated periodically, additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein, and no guarantee is given that the information provided is correct, complete, or up-to-date. Seek the advice of professional counsel before acting or relying upon any article, form, or information in this web site. To ensure compliance with the requirements imposed by the United States Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any federal tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of: (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another person any transaction or matter addressed herein. Butterfield Schechter LLP has endeavored to comply with all known legal and ethical requirements in compiling this website. In the event that this communication does not conform with any laws or regulations of any state or country in which it may be received, Butterfield Schechter LLP will not accept legal representation based on this communication from a person in such a state or country. Electronic mail is provided as a convenience in communicating with the attorneys at Butterfield Schechter LLP. Contact by e-mail does not alone create an attorney-client relationship. Please remember Internet e-mail is not secure and messages sent to the firm or any of its employees or attorneys should not contain sensitive or confidential information. Thank you for visiting our site.