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Tybe Ann Brett

Tybe Brett has been “Of Counsel” to Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec, LLC, since 2006.

Email:  [email protected]

Tybe graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College and is a 1979 graduate of Columbia University School of Law, where she was student articles editor of the Journal of Transnational Law.

During law school, Tybe was a law clerk for the Employment Rights Project, where she worked on employment discrimination class actions against two major publishers.  After law school, she worked as a litigation associate at Drinker Biddle & Reath in Philadelphia, PA.  From 1983-1990, she was an associate professor at the University of Maine School of Law, where she founded an Environmental Law Clinic.

Since 1990, Tybe has been in private practice in Pittsburgh.  From 1990 to 1995, she was involved in shaping the law in toxic tort class actions, and successfully represented objecting class members in Keene Corporation v. Fiorelli et al., 14 F.3d 726 (2d Cir. 1993), and In re Joint Eastern & Southern Districts Asbestos Litigation (Findley v. Blinken), 982 F.2d 721 (2d 1992).  She also represented objectors before the district court in the case that culminated in the opinions in Georgine v. Amchem Prods., Inc., 83 F.3d 610, 630 (3d Cir. 1996), aff’d, Amchem Prods., Inc. v. Windsor, 521 U.S. 591 (1997).

Since 1995, Tybe has concentrated her practice on labor and employee benefits cases.  She has successfully advanced the claims of individual ERISA litigants in a number of cases.  See, e.g., McCann v. Unum Provident, 907 F.3d 130 (3d Cir. 2018); Haisley v. Sedgwick Claims Mgmt. Servs., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20751 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 2, 2011); Steffy v. Liberty Life Assur. Co., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93515 (W.D. Pa. Oct. 7, 2009);  Babish v. Sedgwick Claims Mgmt. Servs., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18594 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 2, 2009) Kalp v. Life Ins. Co. of N. Am., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7957 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 4, 2009);  Jagielski v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62660; 42 Employee Benefits Cas. (BNA) 1725 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 24, 2007).

Tybe was appointed Class Counsel in Cottillion v. United Refining Corp., 781 F.3d 46 (3d Cir. 2015), a case in which she achieved significant rulings on behalf of the class whose pension benefits had been reduced contrary to the terms of the plan. See alsoCottillion v. United Refining Corp, 279 F.R.D. 290 (W.D. Pa. 2011) (applying the fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege to matters of plan administration and otherwise limiting application of the privilege in ERISA class action); Andrako v. United States Steel Corp., C. A. No. 2:07-cv-1629, 17 Wage & Hour Cas. 2d (BNA) 756, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23583 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 9, 2011), and in Starbird v. Mercy Health Plans, Inc., Case No. 4:07-cv-1050, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54958 (E.D. Mo. June 29, 2009).

Tybe also was Counsel for United Policyholders as amicus curiae in support of Petitioner in Montanile v Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan, No. 14-723, Respondent in US Airways v. McCutchen, No. 11-1285 (U.S.), and in support of Petitioner in Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., No. 12-729 (U.S.).

Tybe has authored a number of articles on class actions and on ERISA issues.  See, e.g., US Airways Inc. v. McCutchen: Confirming the Scope of “Appropriate Equitable Relief Under ERISA Section 502(a)(3), 175 PBD 9/11/2012 (BNA 9/11/12); CIGNA Corp. v. Amara: Protecting Employees From Disclosure Violations Under ERISA, 106 PBD 6/2/11 (BNA 6/2/11); When the SPD and the Plan Conflict, the Conflict Should be Resolved in the Participant’s Favor, 37 BPR (BNA 10/19/10); A Trial Lawyer’s Commentary On One Jurist’s Musings of the Legal Occult:  A Response to Judge Weinstein, 88 Nw. U. L. Rev. 592 (1993) (with Thomas W. Henderson, Esq.); Class Actions and Consolidations in Mass Toxic Tort Cases, in ABA Tort and Insurance Practice Section, Managing Modern Litigation: Learning to Live with New Judicial Courts and New Trial Tools (1991) (with Thomas W. Henderson, Esq.); Commentary:  Consolidation of Individual Plaintiff Personal Injury – Toxic Tort Actions, 11 Journal of Law & Commerce 59 (1991) (with Theodore Goldberg, Esq.).  She represented United Policyholders as amicus curiae in US Airways v.McCutchen, 131 S. Ct. 1537 (2013).

Tybe presented at the following meetings and conventions:

Employee Benefits for the Employment Lawyer: NELA 2020 Virtual Convention (July 10, 2020)

Ethics in Employee Benefits Practices: ABA Employee Benefits Committee Midwinter Meeting (Rancho Mirage, CA, Feb. 7, 2020)

ERISA Ethical Issues and Concerns: ABA JCEB ERISA Basics National Institute (Chicago, IL, Oct. 17, 2019)

Ethics for Employee Benefits Lawyers: ABA Employee Benefits Committee Midwinter Meeting (Nashville, TN, Feb. 9, 2019)

Ethics in a Digital World: ABA JCEB Webinar (Nov. 13, 2018)

Ethics in a Digital World: ABA Employee Benefits Committee Midwinter Meeting (Clearwater Beach, FL, Feb. 9 2018

Ethics Update: ABA Employee Benefits Committee Midwinter Meeting (Austin, TX, Feb. 10, 2017)

Webinar: New Civil Procedural Rules and ERISA Litigation, Sponsored by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits and the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel (September 8, 2016)

Tybe is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania; Maine; United States Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third, Second, Fourth,  Seventh Circuits; U. S. District Courts for the Western District of Pennsylvania; Eastern District of Pennsylvania; District of Maine; Northern District of Indiana; and the Middle District of Pennsylvania.  Tybe also serves as Plaintiffs’ Co-Chair, Ethics Subcommittee, ABA Employee Benefits Committee (2015-Present).

On her own time, Tybe sings with the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh and is involved in promoting environmentally sustainable practices in her community.

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TYBE’S SIGNIFICANT ERISA CASES:

  • Kushner v. Nationwide Mutual Ins. Co., 2019 WL 4696306 (S.D. CASES Ohio Sep. 26, 2019) (on summary judgment, pension plan participant’s claim that fiduciary misrepresented his benefits under plan permitted to go forward on breach of fiduciary duty theory); 2018 WL 3454685 (S.D. Ohio, July 18, 2018 (granting plaintiff’s motion to compel production of documents under the fiduciary exception to the attorney client privilege).
  • Erwood v. Life Ins. Co. of N. America, 2017 WL 1383922 (W.D. Pa. Apr. 13, 2017) (non-jury verdict in favor of widow who recovered the loss of $750,000 worth of life insurance benefits
  • Cottillion et. al. v. United Refining Corporation, 781 F.3d 47 (3d Cir. 2015), aff’g, 2013 WL 1419705 (W.D. Pa. Apr. 8, 2013) (granting summary judgment in favor of participants in a defined benefit plan whose subsidized early retirement was reduced in violation of ERISA’s anti-cutback rule).
  • DeSue v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., 2017 WL 528241 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 9, 2017) (denying motion to dismiss claim for appropriate equitable relief where there is a claim for benefits, because the two claims are not necessarily duplicative and permitting plaintiff’s claim for breach of fiduciary duty to proceed).
  • Bulger v. Eaton Corp., 2016 WL 5807111 (N.D. Ohio Oct. 5, 2016) (denying motion to dismiss claim for appropriate equitable relief where claim for benefits, to allow plaintiff an opportunity to develop those claims).
  • Strott v. Dimensional Inv., LLC Health & Welfare Plan, 2015 WL 1299773 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 23, 2015) (termination of benefits was arbitrary and capricious).
  • Atkins v. UPMC Healthcare Benefits Trust, 2013 WL 6587170 (W.D. Pa. Dec. 16, 2013) (granting discovery on insurer’s conflict of interest).
  • Cottillion et. al. v. United Refining Corporation, et al., 57 Employee Benefits Cas. (BNA) 1460, 2013 WL 5936368 (W.D. Pa. Nov. 5, 2013)(granting class certification and remedies to plaintiff class).
  • Cottillion et. al. v. United Refining Corporation, et al., 279 F.R.D. 290 (W.D. Pa. 2011) (applying the fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege to matters of plan administration, including communications regarding participants’ exhaustion of administrative remedies under the plan, and with respect to communications between an attorney and plan actuaries, limiting the application of the attorney client privilege to only those communications where the actuary was retained for the purpose of obtaining or providing legal advice, and not to other communications with the plan actuary, prepared in the ordinary course of business).
  • United Steelworkers of Am. AFL-CIO/CLC v. Rohm & Haas Co., 683 F. Supp. 2d 355 (E.D. Pa. 2010) (denial of benefits was arbitrary and capricious).
  • Haisley v. Sedgwick Claims Mgmt. Servs., 776 F. Supp. 2d 33 (W.D. Pa. 2011) (granting motion for summary judgment on the grounds that defendants’ denial of benefits was arbitrary and capricious).
  • Steffy v. Liberty Life Assur. Co., 2009 WL 3255219 (W.D. Pa. Oct. 7, 2009) (denying motion to dismiss complaint alleging ERISA claims).
  • Babish v. Sedgwick Claims Mgmt. Servs., 2009 WL 563951 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 2, 2009) (granting motion for summary judgment on the grounds that defendants’ denial of benefits was arbitrary and capricious)
  • Kalp v. Life Ins. Co. of N. Am., 2009 WL 261189 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 4, 2009) (granting motion to compel responses to discovery requests that sought information beyond the “administrative record” in ERISA welfare benefits case)
  • Krebs v. United Refining Co., 893 A.2d 776 (Pa. Super. 2006), after remand, No. 88 WDA 2007 (Pa. Super. August 24, 2007) (prevailing plaintiffs in case under the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act are entitled to fees and costs under fee-shifting provision of the statute).
  • Jagielski v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62660; 42 Employee Benefits Cas. (BNA) 1725 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 24, 2007) (under any standard of review, defendant’s termination of plaintiff’s long term disability benefits was “arbitrary and capricious”), 2007 WL 2907277 (W. D. Pa. Sept. 28, 2007) (awarding fees and costs).

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