Christen Sewell

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Christen Sewell focuses on all aspects of employee benefits and executive compensation, including compliance with the Internal Revenue Code and ERISA.  Her practice covers tax-qualified retirement plans, health and welfare plans, equity compensation and nonqualified deferred compensation plans, among other areas.

Latest Articles

On November 14, 2018, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued proposed regulations updating the 401(k) plan regulations for hardship distributions from section 401(k) plans.  In particular, these proposed amendments reflect statutory changes including recent changes made by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.  Plan sponsors of 401(k) plans have been awaiting guidance as they make plan design choices for 2019.  While the proposed regulations do not explicitly say that plan…
Taxpayers may treat the $6,900 original annual contribution limit for family coverage to health savings accounts (“HSAs”) as the limit for 2018, according to IRS guidance released on April 26, 2018 (press release; IRS Rev. Proc. 2018-27).  Employers that took steps to comply with the reduced limit may need to take action. As discussed in our earlier blog post, the contribution limit for family coverage to HSAs for 2018 was reduced…
Changes to cost of living adjustments for health savings accounts (“HSAs”) by the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 (the “Act”) caused a $50 decrease in the contribution limit for family coverage to HSAs for 2018.  The limit was reduced from $6,900 to $6,850 (original limit here; revised limit here). This affects only 2018 contributions for employees with family coverage who have exceeded or made elections that will exceed the original HSA…
The IRS has provided interim guidance in Notice 2015-43 on the application of certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act to expatriate health insurance issuers, expatriate health plans, and employers in their capacity as sponsors of expatriate health plans.  The interim guidance is effective for policies that are issued or renewed on or after July 1, 2015, and for plan years that start on or after July 1, 2015.  We discussed ACA issues for U.S.…
The Obama administration recently issued final regulations implementing the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addition Equity Act of 2008 (the “MHPAEA”).  The regulations implement the MHPAEA’s prohibition against imposing limits on mental health and substance use disorder benefits that are more restrictive than the limits on medical and surgical benefits.  The final regulations largely preserve interim final regulations that have been in effect since July 1, 2010, with some clarifications that…
Corporate lawyers negotiating asset purchase agreements believe strongly in the concept of freedom of contract.  Asset purchase agreements invariably have carefully crafted provisions dictating which assets and liabilities transfer to the buyer and which assets and liabilities remain with the seller. Unfortunately, when it comes to employee and employee benefit liabilities, courts don’t always respect these carefully written contracts.  Courts are loathe to rule against employees or retirees who have lost certain rights or benefits as a result…