Saint Peter’s Healthcare System 

Kaplan v. Saint Peter’s Healthcare System
United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
Case No. 13-2941

Case Overview

Plaintiffs allege that Saint Peter’s Healthcare System (“Saint Peter’s”), a New Jersey a non-profit corporation that operates a variety of facilities, including a hospital, and employs over 2,800 people is improperly claiming that its defined benefit pension plan, the Saint Peter’s Healthcare System Retirement Plan (the “Saint Peter’s Retirement Plan” or “Plan”) is exempt from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), a federal law, pursuant to a statutory exemption intended for “church plans.”

Plaintiffs allege that the Plan does not meet the various statutory requirements for a church plan. Further, Plaintiffs allege that if the statute exempting church plans did apply to the Plan, the statute would, to that extent, be unconstitutional.  

Plaintiffs allege that Defendants are violating ERISA by, among other things:

  • underfunding the Saint Peter’s Retirement Plan;
  • failing to furnish Plaintiffs or any member of the proposed Class with a Pension Benefit Statement, Summary Annual Reports, Notification of Failure to Meet Minimum Funding, or Funding Notices; and
  • failing to file an annual report with respect to the Plan with the Secretary of Labor.

Plaintiffs also allege, in the alternative, that if the Plan is a church plan, then Defendants have violated state law in the operation of the Plan.

Case Status

The Amended Complaint was filed on August 8, 2018. Defendants subsequently filed a Motion to Dismiss. On April 30, 2019, the Honorable Michael A. Shipp denied Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, allowing Plaintiffs’ claims to proceed.

Case Documents

Order re Motion to Dismiss – 03/31/2014

Third Circuit Opinion – 12/29/2015

Supreme Court Opinion – 06/05/2017

Amended Complaint – 08/08/2018

Memorandum Opinion – 04/30/2019

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