Mason v. Continental Group, Inc, No. 85-847

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtWHITE
Citation474 U.S. 1087,106 S.Ct. 863,88 L.Ed.2d 902
PartiesJohn MASON et al. v. CONTINENTAL GROUP, INC., et al
Docket NumberNo. 85-847
Decision Date21 January 1986

474 U.S. 1087
106 S.Ct. 863
88 L.Ed.2d 902
John MASON et al.

v.

CONTINENTAL GROUP, INC., et al.

No. 85-847

Supreme Court of the United States

January 21, 1986

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice WHITE, with whom Justice BRENNAN joins, dissenting.

In this case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that beneficiaries of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plan must exhaust internal plan remedies before suing plan fiduciaries on the basis of an alleged violation of duties imposed by the statute. Although this ruling is consistent with the law of the Seventh Circuit, see Kross v. Western Electric Co., 701 F.2d 1238 (1983), it is at odds with a decision of the Ninth Circuit, Amaro v. Continental Can Co. 724 F.2d 747 (1984), which held that plaintiffs alleging a statutory violation (as opposed to a mere denial of benefits owing under an ERISA plan) need not exhaust internal remedies.* The Third Circuit has noted the existence of this conflict but failed to take a direct position on it, see Barrowclough v. Kidder, Peabody & Co., 752 F.2d 923, 939, n. 15 (1985), although that court's acceptance of the notion that statutory ERISA claims are normally not arbitrable seems to reflect agreement with the Ninth Circuit's approach. See id., at 941.

I believe that the Court should grant certiorari in this case in order to resolve the uncertainty over the existence of an exhaustion requirement in cases of this kind. The increasing significance of ERISA litigation is apparent from the growing number of such cases that appear on our docket; in a field so productive of federal litigation, the need for clear procedural rules governing access to the federal courts is imperative. Moreover, because the coverage of particular ERISA plans frequently extends to beneficiaries in more than one State—and, no doubt, in more than one judicial circuit—differences in the rules governing access to federal court for the purpose of pressing a claim under ERISA may have the troubling effect of encouraging forum shopping by plaintiffs. Accordingly, the conflict among the Circuits over the issue of an exhaustion requirement under ERISA can hardly be passed

Page 1088

over as an unimportant one unworthy of this Court's attention. I therefore dissent from the denial of certiorari.

* Cf. Amato v. Bernard, ...

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96 practice notes
  • Prevot, In re, Nos. 94-5854
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • September 7, 1995
    ...the denial of a petition by a conservator of a fugitive's estate to intervene in a civil forfeiture case), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1086, 106 S.Ct. 863, 88 L.Ed.2d 901 (1986); U.S. v. $45,940 in U.S. Currency, 739 F.2d 792 (2d Cir.1984) (affirming judgment on the pleadings for the government ......
  • Held v. Manufacturers Hanover Leasing Corp., No. 89-1206
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • August 16, 1990
    ...required prior to seeking judicial relief. The Eleventh Circuit in Mason v. Continental Group, Inc., 763 F.2d 1219 (1985), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1087, 106 S.Ct. 863, 88 L.Ed.2d 902 (1986), and the Seventh Circuit in Kross v. Western Elec. Co., 701 F.2d 1238 (1983), have held that beneficia......
  • Fallick v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., No. C2-95-1273.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • March 12, 1997
    ...Co., 925 F.2d 979, 986 (6th Cir.1991)); see also Mason v. Continental Group, Inc., 763 F.2d 1219, 1226-27 (11th Cir.1985), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1087, 106 S.Ct. 863, 88 L.Ed.2d 902 (1986); Amato v. Bernard, 618 F.2d 559, 566-67 (9th Cir.1980). However, the exhaustion requirement may be exc......
  • United Paperworkers v. International Paper Co., Civ. No. 90-0003-B.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Court (Maine)
    • November 12, 1991
    ...doctrine to both plan-based and statute-based claims. See Mason v. Continental Group, Inc., 763 F.2d 1219 (11th Cir.1985), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1087, 106 S.Ct. 863, 88 L.Ed.2d 902 (1986); Kross, 701 F.2d at Kross has been criticized or questioned in other cases. See, e.g., Amaro, 724 F.2d......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
96 cases
  • Prevot, In re, Nos. 94-5854
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • September 7, 1995
    ...the denial of a petition by a conservator of a fugitive's estate to intervene in a civil forfeiture case), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1086, 106 S.Ct. 863, 88 L.Ed.2d 901 (1986); U.S. v. $45,940 in U.S. Currency, 739 F.2d 792 (2d Cir.1984) (affirming judgment on the pleadings for the government ......
  • Held v. Manufacturers Hanover Leasing Corp., No. 89-1206
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • August 16, 1990
    ...required prior to seeking judicial relief. The Eleventh Circuit in Mason v. Continental Group, Inc., 763 F.2d 1219 (1985), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1087, 106 S.Ct. 863, 88 L.Ed.2d 902 (1986), and the Seventh Circuit in Kross v. Western Elec. Co., 701 F.2d 1238 (1983), have held that beneficia......
  • Fallick v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., No. C2-95-1273.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • March 12, 1997
    ...Co., 925 F.2d 979, 986 (6th Cir.1991)); see also Mason v. Continental Group, Inc., 763 F.2d 1219, 1226-27 (11th Cir.1985), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1087, 106 S.Ct. 863, 88 L.Ed.2d 902 (1986); Amato v. Bernard, 618 F.2d 559, 566-67 (9th Cir.1980). However, the exhaustion requirement may be exc......
  • United Paperworkers v. International Paper Co., Civ. No. 90-0003-B.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Court (Maine)
    • November 12, 1991
    ...doctrine to both plan-based and statute-based claims. See Mason v. Continental Group, Inc., 763 F.2d 1219 (11th Cir.1985), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1087, 106 S.Ct. 863, 88 L.Ed.2d 902 (1986); Kross, 701 F.2d at Kross has been criticized or questioned in other cases. See, e.g., Amaro, 724 F.2d......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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