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SCOTUS Sides With Religious Hospitals in Church Plan Dispute

June 5, 2017, 2:16 PM

Religiously affiliated hospitals can run their pension plans as church plans exempt from federal funding requirements, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, U.S., Nos. 16-74; 16-86; 16-258, 6/5/17).

The court’s unanimous ruling reverses the decisions of three federal appeals courts, which found that church plans exempt from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act must be established by churches, not hospitals. The Supreme Court disagreed, saying that ERISA’s text imposes no such requirement.

The cases have roots in a four-year flurry of litigation involving more than two dozen religiously affiliated hospitals throughout the country....

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