ERISA Litigation

Trends & Insights

Part 2: Partial Plan Terminations Workforce reductions seem to be an inescapable consequence of economic downturns. Whether this occurs through the sale of a business, layoffs or plant closures, employers too often overlook the potential impact on their employer-sponsored retirement plans. Unfortunately, failure to recognize and timely address the retirement plan implications of a reduction in force can jeopardize the plan’s tax qualified status and lead to costly and time-consuming corrections. Earlier this month, we…
Part 1: Introduction Some economists are now predicting a global economic downturn as soon as 2020, as indicators from bonds, interest rates, currencies, and commodities signal declining growth, including the recent inversion of the yield curve. While there is not a consensus on this point (as George Bernard Shaw once said, “if all economists were laid end to end, they would still not reach a conclusion”), it’s hard to ignore the growing chorus. There…
Employee stock ownership plans (“ESOPs”) are a valuable tool for businesses to create a succession plan and provide retirement benefits to employees by having employees purchase employer stock. Although self-interested transactions are generally prohibited under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), ESOPs are encouraged under ERISA despite the fact that the plans can only invest in the employer stock through related party transactions. This Congressional encouragement has even been noted by the…
Court filings made this week show that Johns Hopkins has settled its ERISA fee case on proposed terms that include making a $14.5 million settlement payment, the second highest settlement in a 403(b) fee case, behind Vanderbilt ($14.5 million), and ahead of Duke ($10.65 million), U. Chicago ($6.5 million) and Brown ($3.5 million). The most eye-catching feature of this proposed settlement is not the size of the monetary payment, but rather the litany of non-monetary…
It sounds like something you might see on Dateline. A happy couple with a white picket fence in the suburbs. And then … the unthinkable happens …. one spouse murders the other. The last thing on anyone’s mind is what happens to the retirement plan assets….unless you are a plan administrator. A principal purpose of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is to provide a uniform set of rules for plan administrators…
You are working hard to administer your benefit plan in accordance with all the requirements of ERISA and the Code when you receive a written request for “a copy of the bargaining agreement, trust agreement, contract or other instrument under which the plan is established or operated.” This language is directly from Section 104(b)(4) of ERISA, but does that mean you have to provide a copy of the long, detailed and sometimes confidential service provider…
So your company sponsors a self-insured health care plan, and you’ve been tasked with administering the plan, but in reality, most of the day to day administration is handled a third party administrator (“TPA”). Just curious – do you know what your TPA’s policies are with respect to recovering overpayments? Do you know whether your TPA engages in a recovery practice known as cross-plan offsetting? If you don’t know the answer to that question, now…
News coverage of the current administration’s enforcement of immigration policies has demanded the attention of the entire country. It should therefore come as no surprise that this issue has permeated every corner of the legal world, and the law governing retirement plans is no exception. What may come as a surprise given the prevalence and immediacy of this issue is the lack of clear guidance on the impact of unauthorized workers on employer sponsored retirement…
The Department of Labor (DOL) has made it no secret that it actively engages in enforcement activities against employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) with a particular focus on the valuation of the stock of privately held companies that is held or bought by the ESOP.[1] The valuation of the company stock is important to the DOL because the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) includes provisions to allow an ESOP…
“Wilderness therapy? What’s that?” That’s the common response I receive when I mention that wilderness therapy is a hot topic in mental health parity litigation. Wilderness therapy is a form of residential treatment that uses nature and the outdoors as a therapeutic tool.   Often used with operationally-defiant or drug-addicted teens, wilderness therapy combines traditional therapy with outdoor activities. A number of lawsuits have been brought over the last year, alleging that group health plans have…