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Home / Opinions / Courts / 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals / Civil Practice: ERISA-Religious Exemption-Jurisdiction

Civil Practice: ERISA-Religious Exemption-Jurisdiction

Where a nurse challenged the ERISA plan of her religiously affiliated hospital employer as underfunded and in violation of the law, and the district court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction, the appellate court holds that whether a plan is an ERISA plan is an element of the plaintiff’s case and not a jurisdictional issue, and the plaintiff failed to adequately state a claim under ERISA because the plan was a church plan, and she also waived any claim for additional discovery by not requesting it in the court below, but the case is remanded to the district court to determine whether the deprivation of ERISA protection confers Article III standing, and if so, whether the church-plan exemption violates the establishment clause.

Judgment is affirmed in part; reversed and remanded.

Sanzone v. Mercy Health (MLW No. 74764/Case No. 18-3574 – 23 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Smith, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, Perry, J. (Karen L Handorf, Washington, D.C., argued for appellant) (Jeffrey Richard Fink, St Louis, argued for appellee).