In Waldoch v. Medtronic, Inc., 757 F.3d 822 (8th Cir. 2014), the plaintiff argued that the plan’s grant of discretionary authority was overridden by procedural irregularities in plan administration, compelling use of the de novo standard of review. To counter that argument, Medtronic submitted an affidavit with supplemental evidence demonstrating its claims handling process. The district court overruled plaintiff’s motion to strike that evidence, and the Eighth Circuit affirmed. The court held that, though its review is normally limited to the administrative record, that rule “is relaxed when evidence is admitted for the limited purpose of determining the proper standard of review.”
After noting that Met Life v. Glenn may well have overruled Eighth Circuit precedent to the effect that serious procedural irregularities could compel de novo review even when the plan granted discretionary authority, the court held that it did not need to resolve that question, given its conclusion that there were no serious procedural irregularities present.