San Diego Law Review

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This Article develops a standard by which to judge the correctness of the ERISA federal common law rules. That standard requires the protection of participants' reasonable expectations. Using the plan interpretation rule as an example, this Article shows that the present court rules fail this "reasonable expectation" standard. This Article develops the proper plan interpretation rule as a rule that fosters the policies of ERISA, uses a lay understanding principle, allows extrinsic evidence to determine that understanding as well as resolve ambiguities, and employs a default principle of construing the plan in favor of participants.

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