Frequently Asked Questions

BASIC INFORMATION

1. What is the Notice and why should I read it?

A court authorized the Notice to let you know about a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit called Goldstein, et al. v. Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, et al., Civil Action 1:22-cv-7862-GHW-OTW (the “Action”), brought on behalf of the Class Members and the Plan, and pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The Notice describes the Settlement. Please read the Notice carefully. Your rights and options—and the deadlines to exercise them—are listed on the Important Dates tab.  

2. What is a class action lawsuit?

A class action is a lawsuit in which one or more plaintiffs—in this case, one current Plan participant and two former Plan participants (the “Named Plaintiffs”)—sue on behalf of a group of people who allegedly have similar claims. After the Parties reached an agreement to settle this case, the Court granted preliminary approval of the Settlement. Among other things, this preliminary approval permits Class Members to voice their support of or opposition to the Settlement before the Court makes a final determination as whether to approve the Settlement. In a class action, the Court resolves the issues for all class members. 

THE CLAIMS IN THE LAWSUIT AND THE SETTLEMENT

3. What is this lawsuit about?

The Named Plaintiffs, suing individually and on behalf of the Class and Plan (the “Plaintiffs”), allege that Defendants breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA by including investment options in the Plan that are affiliated with Mutual of America, failing to adequately monitor the fees and performance of those funds, and failing to adequately monitor fees paid to the Plan’s recordkeeper. A more complete description of what Plaintiffs allege is in the Amended Complaint.

Defendants deny all claims of wrongdoing or liability against them and assert that they have always acted prudently and in the best interests of Plan participants and beneficiaries. Defendants are settling the Action solely to avoid the expense, inconvenience, and disruption of litigation, without admitting the allegations of breach and damage contained in the Amended Complaint.

4. Why is there a Settlement?

The Named Plaintiffs filed this Action on September 14, 2022. Defendants moved to dismiss the Action in November 2022 Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on December 1, 2022 to which Defendants moved to dismiss in December 2022. The Court has not yet ruled on the motion. The Parties have exchanged initial discovery. Instead of continuing Plaintiffs’ case against the Defendants, both sides agreed to a Settlement. That way, both sides avoided the cost and risk of additional court proceedings, and the affected Class Members will receive benefits that they would not have received if the Named Plaintiffs had litigated the remaining issues and lost, or had lost on appeal. The Named Plaintiffs and their attorneys believe the Settlement is in the best interests of the Class Members. Nothing in the Settlement Agreement is an admission or concession on Defendants’ part of any fault, liability or damages whatsoever, but has been entered into to avoid the uncertainty, expense, and burden of additional litigation.

WHO’S INCLUDED IN THE SETTLEMENT?

5. How do I know if I am in the Settlement Class?

The Court decided that everyone who fits this description is a member of the Class:

All participants in and beneficiaries of the Mutual of America Life Insurance Company Savings Plan at any time on or after September 14, 2016, and June 6, 2023, excluding any persons with responsibility for the Plan’s administrative functions or investments.

If you meet the definition above, you are a member of the Class.

THE SETTLEMENT BENEFITS

6. What does the Settlement provide?

Mutual of America has agreed to have its insurers pay $2,750,000 into a Qualified Settlement Fund to resolve the claims of Class Members. The Net Settlement Amount (after deduction of any Court-approved expenses associated with administering the Settlement, Attorneys’ Fees and Costs, and Service Awards to Named Plaintiffs) will be allocated to Class Members according to the Plan of Allocation set forth in the Settlement Agreement. Under the Plan of Allocation, monies will be distributed to Participant Class Members and Former Participant Class Members pro rata based on (i) a total of their account balance for the period September 16, 2016 through May 1, 2023, and (ii) which of the Plan’s investment options they had chosen to invest in over that period.

In addition, the Settlement provides that prospectively: (1) Defendants shall retain the Plan’s current NAV (net asset value) investment platform for the next three years provided, however, that Defendants shall not be bound by this provision if they determine that using the NAV platform for the Plan is no longer consistent with ERISA’s requirements; and (2) Defendants shall ensure that at least half (50%) of the investment options on the Plan’s investment menu be unaffiliated (i.e., investment funds not managed by the Company or any of its affiliates or subsidiaries) for the next three years. In determining the percentages of affiliated and unaffiliated investment options the following three fund series shall each count as one investment option: (1) the Mutual of America target date fund suite; (2) the Mutual of America risk-based allocation fund series, which is comprised of the Mutual of America Conservative Allocation Fund, the Mutual of America Moderate Allocation Fund, and the Mutual of America Aggressive Allocation Fund; and (3) the T. Rowe Price risk-based allocation fund series, which is comprised of the T. Rowe Price Spectrum Conservative Allocation Fund, the T. Rowe Price Spectrum Moderate Allocation Fund, and the  T. Rowe Price Spectrum Moderate Growth Allocation Fund.

All Class Members and anyone claiming through them will fully release the Plan as well as Defendants, Individual Investment Committee Members, and the Released Parties from Plaintiffs’ Released Claims. The Released Parties include, but are not limited to, Defendant’s past, present, and future parent corporation(s), subsidiaries, divisions, joint ventures, predecessors, successors, successors-in-interest, and assigns, and any individual, partnership, corporation, or any other form of entity or organization that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with any of the foregoing. The Plaintiffs’ Released Claims include, but are not limited to, all claims that were asserted in the Action or could have been asserted in the Action based on any of the allegations, acts, omissions, purported conflicts, representations, misrepresentations, facts, events, matters, transactions, or occurrences asserted in the Action, whether or not pleaded in the Complaints. The Plaintiffs’ Released Claims also include those that relate to the direction to calculate, the calculation of, and/or the method or manner of allocation of the Net Settlement Fund pursuant to the Plan of Allocation and/or that relate to the approval by the Independent Fiduciary of the Settlement Agreement, unless brought against the Independent Fiduciary alone.

This is only a summary of the Released Parties and Plaintiffs’ Released Claims, and is not a binding description of either. The governing releases are found within the Settlement Agreement. Generally, the release means that Class Members will not have the right to sue the Plan, Defendants, or related parties for conduct during the Class Period arising out of or relating to the allegations in the lawsuit.

HOW TO GET BENEFITS

7. How do I get benefits?

Class Members do not have to submit claim forms in order to receive settlement benefits.

The benefits of the Settlement will be distributed automatically once the Court approves the Settlement. 

8. When will I get my payment?

Current Participant Class Members: Participant Class Members (or Beneficiaries or Alternate Payees of such participants) will receive their pro rata share of the $2,750,000.00 in the form of a deposit into their Plan account effective no later than sixty (60) days after the Settlement has received final approval and becomes effective. The hearing to consider the final fairness of the Settlement is scheduled for October 4, 2023.  Any Alternate Payees of Participant Class Members will also receive their payment within 60 days, in accordance with the terms of their Qualified Domestic Relations Order.

Former Participant Class Members: The Settlement Administrator will effect a rollover of the pro rata share of the $2,750,000.00 to Former Participant Class Members (or Beneficiaries or Alternate Payees of such participants) who timely submit a Former Participant Rollover Form to their qualified retirement account selected in that Form within sixty (60) days after the Settlement has received final approval and becomes effective.  A check will be issued within the same 60-day period to Former Participant Class Members (or Beneficiaries or Alternate Payees of such participants) who do not submit a Former Participant Rollover Form.

All checks not cashed within 120 days after they are issued will expire and become void.

Payments made by check may have certain tax consequences; you should consult your tax advisor. 

There will be no payments under the Settlement if the Settlement Agreement is terminated.

THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU

9. Who represents the Settlement Class?

For purposes of the Settlement, the Court has appointed lawyers from the law firm of Nichols Kaster, PLLP as Class Counsel. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense. In addition, the Court appointed Named Plaintiffs Eric Goldstein, Matt Sudol, and Bonnie Zelazek to serve as the Class Representatives. They are also Class Members.

Subject to approval by the Court, Class Counsel has proposed that up to $5,000 may be paid to each of the Named Plaintiffs as the Class Representatives in recognition of the time and effort they expended on behalf of the Class. The Court will determine the proper amount of any award to the Named Plaintiffs. The Court may award less than that amount.

10. How will the lawyers be paid?

From the beginning of the case, which was filed in September 2022, to the present, Class Counsel have not received any payment for their services in prosecuting the case or obtaining the Settlement, nor have they been reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses they have incurred. Class Counsel will apply to the Court for an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees (not to exceed one-third of the settlement fund), plus their costs and settlement administrative expenses. Defendants have agreed not to object to such an application. The Court will determine the proper amount of any Attorneys’ Fees and Costs to award Class Counsel.

Any Attorneys’ Fees and Costs awarded by the Court will be paid to Class Counsel from the settlement fund. Class Counsel will file a motion for an award of Attorneys’ Fees and Costs, Administrative Expenses, and Class Representatives’ Compensation at least 14 days prior to the objection deadline. This motion will be considered at the Fairness Hearing. Class Counsel also will seek to recover all actual and anticipated litigation costs and administrative expenses associated with the Settlement. The Class Members will not have to pay anything out-of-pocket toward the fees or costs of Class Counsel.

YOUR RIGHTS AND OPTIONS

11. What is the effect of Final Approval of the Settlement?

If the Court grants Final Approval of the Settlement, a final order and judgment dismissing the case will be entered in the Action. Payments under the Settlement will then be processed and distributed. The release by Class Members will also take effect.  No Class Member will be permitted to continue to assert Plaintiffs’ Released Claims in any other litigation against Defendants or the other persons and entities covered by the release, as described in Question No. 6.

If you object to the terms of the Settlement Agreement, you may notify the Court of your objection. (See Table on the HOME page.) If the Settlement is not approved, the case will proceed as if no settlement had been attempted or reached. If the Settlement is not approved and the case resumes, there is no guarantee that Class Members will recover more than is provided for under the Settlement, or anything at all.

12. What happens if I do nothing at all?

If you do nothing, and the Settlement is approved, you will release any claims you may have against Defendants, Individual Investment Committee Members, or the Released Parties concerning the conduct Plaintiffs allege in their complaints. (See Question No. 6.) You may also receive a payment as described in Question No. 6.

13. How do I get out of the Settlement?

If the Court approves the Settlement, you will be bound by it and will receive whatever benefits you are entitled to under its terms. You cannot exclude yourself from the Settlement, but you may notify the Court of your objection to the Settlement. (See Question No. 15.) If the Court approves the Settlement, it will do so under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(1), which does not permit Class Members to opt out of the Class.

14. Can I sue Mutual of America for the same thing later?

No. If the Court approves the Settlement, you will have given up any right to sue Mutual of America or any of the Released Parties for the Plaintiffs’ Released Claims.

15. How do I object to the Settlement?

You can object to the Settlement if you don’t like any part of it. If you object, you must give the reasons why you think the Court should not approve the Settlement. The Court will consider your views. Your objection to the Settlement must be postmarked no later than September 6, 2023 and must be sent to the attorneys for the Parties at the addresses below:

Class CounselDefendants’ Counsel
Paul Lukas
Brock Specht
Grace Chanin
NICHOLS KASTER, PLLP
4700 IDS Center
80 S 8th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402
James O. Fleckner
Benjamin S. Reilly
GOODWIN PROCTER LLP
100 Northern Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02110 
Samuel J. Rubin
GOODWIN PROCTER LLP
The New York Times Building
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018

The objection must be in writing and should include the case name Goldstein, et al. v. Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, et al., Civil Action 1:22-cv-7862-GHW-OTW; as well as include your (a) name; (b) address; (c) a statement that you are a member of the Settlement Class; (d) the specific grounds for the objection (including all arguments, citations, and evidence supporting the objection); (e) all documents or writings that you desire the Court to consider (including all copies of any documents relied upon in the objection); (f) your signature; and (g) a notice of intention to appear at the Fairness Hearing (if applicable). (If you are represented by counsel, you or your counsel must file your objection through the Court’s CM/ECF system.) The Court will consider all properly filed comments from Class Members. If you wish to appear and be heard at the Fairness Hearing in addition to submitting a written objection to the Settlement, you or your attorney should say so in your written objection.

Class Counsel will file with the Court their request for Attorneys’ Fees and Costs, Administrative Expenses, and Service Awards to the Named Plaintiffs at least two weeks prior to September 6, 2023, and post it on the Settlement Website.

THE COURT’S FAIRNESS HEARING

16. When and where will the Court hold a hearing on the fairness of the Settlement?

A Fairness Hearing has been set for October 4, 2023 at 10:00 a.m., before The Honorable Ona T. Wang at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, New York, New York 10007 in Courtroom 20D. At the hearing, the Court will hear any comments, objections, and arguments concerning the fairness of the proposed Settlement, including the amount requested by Class Counsel for Attorneys’ Fees and Costs, Administrative Expenses, and the Service Awards to the Named Plaintiffs as the Class Representatives. You do not need to attend this hearing. You also do not need to attend to have an objection considered by the Court.  (See Question No. 15.)

Note:  The date and time of the Fairness Hearing are subject to change by Court Order, but any changes will be posted on this website.

17. Do I have to come to the Fairness Hearing?

No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. But you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as any written objection you choose to make was filed and mailed on time and meets the other criteria described in the Preliminary Approval Order, the Court will consider it. You may also pay another lawyer to attend, but you don’t have to.

18. May I speak at the hearing?

You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the hearing concerning any part of the proposed Settlement by following the instructions in Question No. 15 above.

GETTING MORE INFORMATION

19. Where can I get additional information?

The Notice provides only a summary of the matters relating to the Settlement.  For more detailed information, you may wish to review the Settlement Agreement.  You can also get more information by writing to the Settlement Administrator at PO Box 64053, St. Paul, MN 55164 or calling toll-free 1-800-305-9833.