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Judge dismisses lawsuit against Fidelity, Deere
June 21, 2007 / 4:27 PM / in 10 years

Judge dismisses lawsuit against Fidelity, Deere

BOSTON, June 21 (Reuters) - A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which four workers at Deere & Co. (DE.N) accused the farm equipment maker and Fidelity Investments of charging unreasonable fees and expenses to manage retirement savings.

Judge John Shabaz of the U.S. District for the Western District of Wisconsin dismissed the suit on Wednesday, according to a copy of his order obtained by Reuters.

The four workers alleged that Deere and Fidelity, which acts as a trustee and record keeper for Deere’s 401 (k) plan, offered investment options that had “excessive and unreasonable fees and costs.”

They also alleged that Deere and Fidelity did not tell them about these fees and kept silent about revenue-sharing arrangements under which the mutual-fund firm administering the plans shares some of the fees it charges with the customer.

The court ruled that neither Deere nor Fidelity had to tell the workers about these matters.

“In the context of the disclosure of information on investment options, the additional information suggested by plaintiffs, including revenue sharing, is neither required by the regulations nor material to participant investors assessing the investment opportunity,” Shabaz wrote in his ruling.

The ruling is a victory for Fidelity, a powerhouse in the investment management industry, at a time when more and more Americans are relying on 401 (k) savings plans to finance retirement. The firm administers 401 (k) plans for over 10 million people and manages hundreds of billions of dollars in such plans.

The four Deere workers had sought class-action status for their suit, the latest in a series of suits filed on behalf of plan participants by St. Louis law firm Schlichter, Bogard & Denton. (Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss)

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