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(District of New Jersey D.C. 01-cv-04183) - page 11 / 30

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401 F.3d 779, 787-88 (7th Cir. 2005); United States v. Mett, 178 F.3d 1058, 1062 (9th Cir. 1999); Cox v. Adm'r U.S. Steel & Carnegie, 17 F.3d 1386, 1415-16 (11th Cir. 1994); In re Lindsey, 158 F.3d 1263, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1998), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 996 (1998), and even by district courts within our own circuit, see, e.g., Arcuri v. Trump Taj Mahal Associates, 154 F.R.D. 97, 106 (D.N.J. 1994); Dome Petroleum Ltd. v. Employers Mut. Liab. Ins. Co., 131 F.R.D. 63 (D.N.J. 1990); In re Sunrise Securities Litigation, 130 F.R.D. 560, 596-98 (E.D. Pa. 1989); Valente v. PepsiCo, Inc., 68 F.R.D. 361, 366-69 (D. Del. 1975), we have not yet decided whether or to what extent the exception applies in the Third Circuit. See Depenbrock v. CIGNA Corp., 389 F.3d 78, 81 (3d Cir. 2004).

We recognize that in a number of circuits it is well- settled that the fiduciary exception can apply to ERISA fiduciaries. See, e.g., LILCO, 129 F.3d at 272; Wildbur, 974 F.2d at 645; Bland, 401 F.3d at 787-88; Mett, 178 F.3d at 1062. Moreover, HN-NJ concedes that it is a fiduciary under ERISA because it has authority to process individual beneficiaries’ insurance claims. Under ERISA, an entity is considered a fiduciary to the extent that, inter alia, it holds any discretionary

authority or discretionary responsibility in

an

employee

benefit

plan.

29

U.S.C.

the administration of § 1002(21)(A)(iii).2

229 U.S.C. § 1002(21)(A) provides in full:

Except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (B), a person is a fiduciary with respect to a plan to the extent (i) he exercises any discretionary

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