When an employee files a lawsuit against their employer in New Jersey for violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), one of the key elements of the case is whether or not the new evidence presented is enough to allow the court to overturn the previous decision. This can be a difficult question to answer since the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has not provided definitive guidelines for what constitutes ‘new evidence.’ However, there are some general factors that the court may use to determine whether a piece of evidence is ‘new’ and worth considering in an ERISA claim.
The subject of new evidence largely falls to the court’s interpretation, and the court may consider a variety of factors to determine whether or not they should consider something as new evidence. For example, the court may consider how close the new evidence is to the original claim, as well as if the new evidence has one or more elements that contradict prior decisions.
Materiality of evidence
The materiality of new evidence is also important in ERISA claims. This means that any new evidence presented should be relevant to the case and not just a repetition of existing information or testimony. Furthermore, it must be substantial enough to create a genuine dispute over a material fact—the facts which are most important for determining liability in an ERISA claim.
In addition, courts will often look at how timely the petitioner presents new evidence in relation to the likelihood of discovering it based on their specific circumstances and due diligence. This means that the new evidence must not be something that could have been reasonably uncovered during the making of the original decision and should also relate to events or situations that occurred after the filing of the initial claim.
Every case has different circumstances, and the court’s interpretation of what constitutes ‘new evidence’ can vary greatly. However, by understanding the general principles that courts use to assess new evidence in ERISA claims, employees could have better chances of success in their cases.