Verrill Dana, LLP

Verrill Dana is a full service law firm with more than 130 attorneys and a growing number of service-based practice groups. The firm has a regional presence in the Northeast, with offices from Maine to Washington, D.C., allowing us to serve clients with interests across the country and around the world. Through scalable staffing, careful communication and skillful project management, Verrill Dana helps individuals and businesses achieve their goals in a manner that suits their unique legal needs and preferred work methods.

The IRS recently issued Notice 2021-31, which provides much sought-after detail regarding the contours and operation of the temporary premium subsidy for COBRA continuation coverage available through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). As enacted on March 11, the basic mechanics of the COBRA premium subsidy under ARPA are as follows: “assistance eligible individuals” may receive a 100% COBRA premium subsidy between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021. The entity “to…
On May 10, 2021, the IRS issued Notice 2021-26, which provides guidance regarding the taxation of dependent care assistance benefits provided through a Code Section 125 cafeteria plan, available in tax years ending in 2021 and 2022 due to the application of certain temporary pandemic relief provisions relating to the carry-over of unused balances from one plan year to the next and extended grace periods for incurring expenses. For calendar year plans, the guidance…
Employers have long understood the importance of fiduciary compliance with respect to 401(k) plans and other retirement plans subject to ERISA, and most have sound processes and governance structures in place to ensure the fulfillment of their fiduciary duties. Many employers, however, do not apply the same level of fiduciary compliance for their ERISA health and welfare plans even though many of the same fiduciary standards apply. Now is the time to focus on group…
The first major settlement of a lawsuit challenging the mortality assumptions used to calculate pension plan benefits was announced earlier this year. According to court filings in Cruz v. Raytheon Company, the settlement will be worth about $59.2 million to more than 10,000 retirees and surviving spouses in five Raytheon pension plans who will see increased monthly benefits. The Raytheon case is one in a series of lawsuits that began in late 2018 against sponsors…
The recent regulatory back-and-forth over the investment of ERISA-governed retirement plan assets based on environmental, social, and corporate governance (“ESG”) factors has demonstrated that ESG investing will remain under an intense spotlight for some time to come, and the rules can change quickly. As a result, investment fiduciaries should proceed cautiously when incorporating ESG factors; bearing in mind both the current state of the rules (and how they may change), and the information regulators, participants,…
Last month, we advised readers of this blog to consider efforts to formalize the fiduciary governance of their health and welfare benefit plans. In that post, we described some of the reasons that employers have historically paid more attention to fiduciary compliance for retirement plans than health and welfare benefit plans, including the fact that even large, self-funded health plans do not typically accumulate significant long-term assets. However, a welfare benefit plan may still…
The fiduciary standards of ERISA apply to all employee benefit plans that are subject to Title I of ERISA. The duty of loyalty, the duty of prudence, and the duty to administer a plan in accordance with its written terms apply equally to “employee welfare benefit plans” and “employee pension benefit plans,” differences in specific fiduciary activities notwithstanding. This has been true since ERISA was signed into law 47 years ago, yet even the most…