It is hornbook law that rights of all kinds—even constitutional ones—can be waived. For instance, a criminal defendant might for one reason or another elect to waive his Fourth Amendment freedom from unreasonable searches, his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, or his Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of counsel. In the same way, a civil litigant can waive his Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial or his right, rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment, to be free from overbroad assertions of personal jurisdiction. So too, a sovereign State may choose to waive its Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit.
This case also concerns waiver—but not of some fundamental constitutional guarantee. Rather, this case is about … the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, affectionately (and hereinafter) known as “ERISA.” In particular, this interlocutory appeal requires us to determine whether a defendant is capable of expressly waiving the six-year statute of repose contained in ERISA Section 413(1), 29 U.S.C. § 1113(1)—or whether instead, the protection provided by Section 1113(1) is so essential, so fundamental, that it (seemingly almost alone among personal rights) is inherently indefeasible and unwaivable.
We won’t bury the lede. In response to the district court’s certified question, we answer yes—Section 1113(1)’s statute of repose is subject to express waiver.
Monday, October 16, 2017
"Finally, there is good ol’ common sense."
"Finally, there is good ol’ common sense." That's the 11th Circuit's newest judge, Kevin Newsom, who is quickly making a name for himself as a folksy, fun writer. From the intro to this opinion: