In an ERISA case of importance to employees seeking to collect benefits, the en banc Ninth Circuit cleans up some dicta in its prior case law and - without dissent - holds that parties other than benefit plans and plan administrators may be liable for payment of benefits under 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B).
Employment lawyers know that it is commonplace for national employers to remove private, state-law employment discrimination cases from state to federal court, whenever there are diversity-of-citizenship grounds to do so. Here's the next step - the Ninth Circuit (2-1) approves removal of a suit commenced by a state civil rights agency in state court, holding that it is the citizenship of the employee - the real party in interest - that counts for diversity purposes.
Updated to February 4, 2019