The Supreme Court's decision in Firestone v. Bruch required that conflicts of interest by a plan administrator be "weighed as a factor in determining whether there is an abuse of discretion" in the decision to deny benefits. Nearly every circuit court of appeals, except the Seventh Circuit, has determined that where the plan administrator is also the funder or insurer of a plan, there is an inherent conflict of interest that warrants adjusting the standard of review. This article discusses the Seventh Circuit's reasons for departing from the wisdom of the other circuit courts, and why its reasons are unjustifiable.
Barbara C. Long,
Conflict of Interest and the Standard of Review in ERISA Cases: The Seventh Circuit’s Refusal to Acknowledge What Other Circuits Already Know,
Seventh Circuit Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/seventhcircuitreview/vol1/iss1/10