Class Action Status Granted to Suit Against New York Life

A federal district court judge in Philadelphia certified the class action status of a suit filed against New York Life Insurance Co. by a former executive last year. The executive, James Mehling, contended that he was fired after questioning the propriety of investing employee and agent retirement plan assets in MainStay Institutional Funds, proprietary mutual funds with higher-than-average fees and expenses.

"Throughout the funds’ 10-year history, the plans consistently accounted for half or more of the funds’ assets," the plaintiffs’ lawyers, Gottesdiener Law Firm, said in a statement. A New York Life spokesman emphasized the growth in the plans’ surplus and the appropriateness of trying the case as a class action. "New York Life agrees that this case is suitable for a class action, since that is the best way of establishing once and for all that the company's pension plans are extraordinarily healthy, and that the huge surplus of assets is due in large measure to the outstanding investment record achieved by the trustees," he said.

According to the New York Life spokesman, close to 34,000 current and former employees and agents of New York Life may be eligible to participate in the suit. The case is expected to go to trial late next year.


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