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Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton


The Pension Rights Center filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court asking the Court to affirm decisions by three Courts of Appeals that had ruled that only pension plans established by churches are exempt from the requirements of the federal private pension law. On June 5, 2017, in Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, the Supreme Court reversed the lower courts and ruled that pension plans sponsored by religiously-affiliated nonprofit organizations do not have to be “established” by churches in order to be treated as exempt “church plans” if they meet other requirements. The Court’s opinion did not address whether the plans involved in the cases meet these other requirements. For example, future litigation will be necessary to determine whether these plans are “maintained” by the type of organizations envisioned by Congress when it enacted the law.

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