The U.S. Supreme Court today granted petitions for writs of certiorari in three church plan cases: Dignity Health, et al. v. Rollins, No. 16-258; Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, et al. v. Kaplan, No. 16-86; and Advocate Health Care Network, et al. v. Stapleton, et al., No. 16-74. These cases are part of a recent wave of dozens of church plan lawsuits filed across the country. The plaintiffs in these lawsuits claim that the pension plans offered by religiously-affiliated healthcare systems do not qualify for ERISA’s church plan exemption. The key issue before the Supreme Court will be whether only a “church” may establish a church plan, or whether a plan established by a non-profit organization that is controlled by or associated with a church may also qualify.


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