Plan Administrator Entitled to Deference on Second Attempt to Construe Plan After Error on First Attempt

The United States Supreme Court held in Conkright v. Frommert, No. 08-810 (Apr. 21, 2010), that a plan administrator who is given discretionary authority in the plan documents to interpret the plan is entitled to deference when making a second attempt at interpreting the plan terms after a court concludes that the plan administrator violated ERISA when initially interpreting the plan and remands for a second interpretation.  At issue in Conkright was the plan administrator's interpretation of a retirement plan as allowing a certain method of calculating retirement benefits when employees who left the company and received a lump sum distribution of retirement benefits are rehired.  After an appellate court concluded that the plan administrator erred in interpreting the plan and remanded for consideration of other interpretations, the district court declined to apply a deferential standard of review to the plan administrator's second attempt at interpreting the plan.  On appeal to the Supreme Court, the Court held that the plan administrator's second attempt at interpreting the plan was entitled to a deferential standard of review.