Settlement agreement reached in ERISA lawsuit against Walgreens

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Walgreen Co. has a reached a $13.75 million settlement in an ERISA class-action lawsuit filed by profit-sharing plan participants that also includes an agreement to remove target-date funds managed by Northern Trust Asset Management from the plan.

The plaintiffs on Oct. 22 requested Judge Charles Ronald Norgle grant preliminary approval to the terms of a settlement, according to a court filing of an unopposed motion in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

David Tracey, partner at Sanford Heisler Sharp, attorney for the plaintiff, said in an email, “We are pleased that the matter has been resolved.”

Under the terms of the settlement, Walgreen Co. will pay $13.75 million into a settlement fund and has also removed the target-date funds managed by Northern Trust Asset Management in connection with a request for proposal process, the court filing says. Further information on the RFP process was not available.

Plaintiffs in the suit, filed by current and former plan participants in the pharmacy retailer’s profit-sharing plan in August 2019, claimed that Walgreen’s fiduciaries violated ERISA requirements by keeping the “underperforming” target-date series and failing to “properly monitor the fiduciaries’ behavior.” Northern Trust is not a defendant.

Fraser Engerman, Walgreens spokesman, declined to comment.

As of Dec. 31, the Walgreens Retirement Savings Plan (formerly the Walgreen Profit-Sharing Retirement Plan) had $12.9 billion in assets, according to the company’s most recent Form 5500 filing.