A class action targeting Fidelity Investments’ 401(k) plan that was once slated to be heard by a rare advisory jury will now be tried over a Zoom videoconference, a federal judge in Boston said Monday.
The case’s few outstanding issues will tried through a Zoom hearing starting July 6, Judge William G. Young of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts said. The trial will center on whether Fidelity’s breaches of duty—established by Young in a lengthy opinion from March—caused the participants in its 401(k) plan to suffer any losses.
The lawsuit accuses Fidelity of filling its $17 billion 401(k) plan “exclusively” with Fidelity-affiliated investments that earned fees for the company. The case took an unusual turn in 2019, when Young said he would empanel an advisory jury to hear evidence and give him a nonbinding opinion on the case.
But two intervening developments—the Covid-19 health crisis and Young’s decision resolving key issues in favor of the plan participants—combined to nix the advisory jury in favor of a Zoom videoconference.
Young’s order comes one month after the parties jointly requested he forego the advisory jury in light of these developments. Last week, the parties submitted a proposal to streamline the trial and eliminate the need for certain testimony.
Nichols Kaster PLLP and Block & Leviton LLP represent the plan participants. Goodwin Procter LLP represents Fidelity.
The case is Moitoso v. FMR LLC, D. Mass., No. 1:18-cv-12122, electronic order 6/8/20.