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AAU Joins Organizations to Submit Amicus Brief on Fiduciary Duties Case

AAU recently joined eight other higher education organizations to file an amicus brief in Sacerdote et al. v. New York University, the first case to go to trial among 20 lawsuits challenging university management of 403(b) retirement plans. The plaintiffs in this case are represented by the same law firm that has filed many similar lawsuits against private universities since 2016, all seeking to hold universities accountable for not having their 403(b) plans look more like corporate 401(k) plans. Our brief explains that the higher education retirement system has always looked different than the system for industrial and corporate America and underscores the reasonableness of NYU’s decision-making informed by a cohort of university plans rather than 403(b) plans. A ruling by the Second Circuit sustaining the verdict favoring NYU will be important for the broader higher education community, because it could resonate though other jurisdictions. Conversely, a rejection of NYU’s approach is likely to invite more of these lawsuits. AAU previously participated in higher education association amicus briefs in a related 403(b) case.

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