Attorneys' Fees Not Available Under ERISA for Pre-Litigation Administrative Proceedings

In Hahnemann University Hospital v. All Shore, Inc., 514 F.3d 300 (3rd. Cir. 2008), the court held that the provision permitting awards of attorneys' fees in an ERISA action, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(1), restricts a court to awarding attorneys' fees incurred in formal judicial actions only, and not attorneys' fees incurred for the pre-litigation process.

The court's holding is consistent with that of five other circuit courts of appeals:  the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 9th circuits.