Ninth Circuit denies the ERISA Industry Committee’s (“ERIC”) petition for rehearing en banc

October 12, 2021

On September 1, 2021, the Ninth Circuit denied the ERISA Industry Committee’s (“ERIC”) petition for rehearing en banc in its lawsuit challenging the City of Seattle’s innovative ordinance to improve access to health care for employees of large hotels and their families. The ordinance has been in effect since July 1, 2020 and Keller Rohrback has represented the City in defending it since it was first challenged.

ERIC’s petition stems from the Ninth Circuit’s March 2021 memorandum opinion affirming the District Court’s dismissal of ERIC’s case. Both the District Court and the Ninth Circuit decisions relied on the Ninth Circuit’s 2008 decision in Golden Gate Restaurant Association v. City and County of San Francisco, in which the Ninth Circuit upheld a San Francisco ordinance which was nearly identical to the City of Seattle law. ERIC’s attempts to distinguish Golden Gate both below and before the Ninth Circuit were therefore unsuccessful. 

In April, ERIC filed a petition for rehearing en banc, urging the Ninth Circuit to revisit its decision in Golden Gate. On September 1, ERIC’s petition was denied. The denial comes at a pivotal moment in which improving access to health care for vulnerable communities is more important than ever.

Keller Rohrback’s Erin Riley, Jeffrey Lewis, and Rachel Morowitz serve as co-counsel to the City Attorney in defending this important ordinance, with important contributions from Matt Gerend