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ERISA Case Spurs Debate Over BYU Legal Linguistic Database

July 10, 2019, 7:40 PM

A dispute over a corporate executive’s deferred compensation package led to a debate over a new legal database that aims to divine the meanings of statutory terms at the time they were written.

The Sixth Circuit panel agreed that Safelite Group Inc.'s deferred compensation plan was governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act based on the “plain text” of the statute and regulations. This meant Dan Wilson, the former president of Safelite, couldn’t use state law to challenge a hefty tax bill associated with the plan.

But one judge used the case to promote the virtues of “corpus linguistics,” ...