With emphasis on developments in the Fourth Circuit, this Article first describes the pursuit's origination in plan language and ERISA's statutory provisions; it then explores ERISA preemption and cases in which injured participants invoke state statutory and common law to contradict plan terms. A review of the attorney's role follows, including an inquiry into issues concerning attorney fees. With consideration of policies behind ERISA, the Article concludes that adherence to well-drafted plan terms legitimizes the parties' bargain, avoids development of disparate federal common law, and facilitates the allocation of proceeds.



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