Edison Executives Win Dismissal of ERISA Lawsuit

Munger, Tolles & Olson represented Edison International and its executives in obtaining dismissal of a putative class action brought by current and former employees alleging they did not disclose settlement talks with state officials about the retirement of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
The lawsuit alleged that Edison’s CEO and treasurer breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA to participants in the Edison 401(k) savings plan. The plaintiffs claimed that the executives did not disclose settlement talks with officials at the California Public Utilities Commission about the retirement of SONGS, endangering Edison’s $3.3 billion settlement related to the closure and artificially inflating the utility’s stock price.
On July 6, 2016, Judge John Kronstadt of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California dismissed the lawsuit, writing that “the complaint makes conclusory allegations that the alternatives would not have caused more harm than good. … The complaint fails to account for the risk that the market might overreact to the proposed public disclosures, causing harm to plan participants that was greater than the potential decline in share price upon disclosure of the claimed improper conduct in the course of the SONGS settlement.”
The Munger Tolles attorneys involved in the matter were Henry Weissmann, John M. Gildersleeve and Jordan X. Navarrette.