This lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that defendant FedEx violated the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) by failing to pay a mandatory spousal survivor benefit to Stacey Schuett, the wife of a longtime FedEx employee who passed away from cancer, solely because both spouses were women.
FedEx refused to provide the benefit because its pension plan defined “Spouse” by explicitly incorporating Section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), which was struck down by the U.S. Supreme court in 2013. Federal law requires that mandatory spousal benefits under ERISA be provided to all spouses, whether opposite-sex or same-sex. Ms. Schuett filed a claim for survivor benefits after the Supreme Court decision, but FedEx has continued to deny Ms. Schuett this mandatory benefit.
The case, Schuett v. FedEx, No. 4:15-cv-00189-PJH, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on January 14, 2015. Ms. Schuett is represented by CREEC, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Feinberg, Jackson, Worthman & Wasow LLP, and the Birnie Law Office.
Update: the case has been resolved.