On June 24, 2022, in a short unpublished opinion, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decided Kifafi v. Hilton Hotels Retirement Plan, et al., No. 21-7025, 2022 WL 2280296 (D.C. Cir. June 24, 2022).
In 1998, Plaintiff-Appellant Jamal Kifafi brought a class action lawsuit against his employer, Hilton Hotels, and its retirement plan, alleging that their improper accrual of benefits and improper counting of years of service violated ERISA. In 2011, the district court entered a permanent injunction against the defendants to rectify the violations. In 2015, the district court terminated its jurisdiction over the matter after it concluded that Hilton was in compliance with the injunction. In 2019, the D.C. Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision to end its active supervision of the permanent injunction. This did not terminate the underlying injunction, only that the district court “cannot supervise parties forever.”
In 2020, Kifafi went back to the district court and requested that the court “reopen the case and issue an order requiring Appellees: to (1) show cause for why they should not be held in civil contempt of the permanent injunction; and (2) order Hilton to provide an equitable accounting of the implementation of the injunction since the District Court’s conclusion of active supervision. Hilton opposed the motion and requested an order enjoining Kifafi from initiating class-wide communications without the court’s authorization.” The district court denied both motions on the basis that its jurisdiction ended in 2019. Kifafi appealed.
The D.C. Circuit found that the district court erred by denying Kifafi’s motion on the basis that its jurisdiction terminated. The court concluded that the district court retains jurisdiction to enforce the 2011 permanent injunction. The court vacated the district court’s order and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings.
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