Joseph Clark

Joseph Clark

Proskauer Rose LLP

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Ninth Circuit: Spousal Consent Not Required Under Top-Hat Plans

The Ninth Circuit held that a participant’s brother, rather than his spouse, was the proper beneficiary of benefits under a profit sharing plan. In so holding, the Court found that: (a) the participant’s first wife, who was...more

2/27/2015 - Beneficiaries ERISA Exemptions Profit Sharing Spouses Written Consent

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - February 2015

The Supreme Court cast a ray of sunlight for employers by rejecting the use of a problematic inference in adjudicating claims for retiree benefits brought pursuant to collective bargaining agreements. For many years, the...more

2/17/2015 - Employer Group Health Plans Employer Healthcare Costs Health Insurance M&G Polymers v Tackett Retirement SCOTUS Vested Benefits Yard Man

Supreme Court Dispenses With the Yard-Man Inferences

In a decision watched closely by both employers and unions, a unanimous Supreme Court has resolved a thirty-plus year split among the circuit courts on the standards governing claims for retiree health-care benefits arising...more

1/29/2015 - CBAs Collective Bargaining Employer Group Health Plans Employer Healthcare Costs Health Insurance M&G Polymers v Tackett Retirement SCOTUS Vested Benefits Yard Man

Supreme Court Announces “Wipe-Out” of Yard-Man Presumption in Advance of Storm

With storm clouds threatening in the northeast, the Supreme Court cast a ray of sunlight for employers today by rejecting the use of a problematic inference in adjudicating claims for retiree benefits brought pursuant to...more

1/27/2015 - Collective Bargaining Retirement SCOTUS Yard Man

401(k) Plan Participant Waived ERISA Stock-Drop Claim

The D.C. Circuit affirmed the decision of a district court that Plaintiff Patrick Russell, a 401(k) plan participant, had knowingly waived his right to assert an ERISA stock-drop claim based on, among other things, the...more

12/19/2014 - 401k ERISA Hiring & Firing Popular Severance Agreements Stock Drop Litigation Waiver of Tort

Defined Benefit Plan Participants Have Standing to Pursue Fiduciary Breach Claims

A federal district court in Minnesota found that participants in a defined benefit pension plan had standing to assert claims that defendants breached their fiduciary duties by, among other things, shifting to an...more

12/4/2014 - Breach of Duty Defined Benefit Plans ERISA Fiduciary Liability Standing Statute of Limitations

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - October 2014

Editor's Overview - The first article in this month's newsletter focuses on whether specific language in ERISA employer-provided disability insurance plans confer discretionary authority to plan administrators to...more

10/22/2014 - Delegation of Discretion Disability Insurance Employee Benefits ERISA Plan Administrators

A Court’s Review of a Disability Benefit Claim May Hinge on the Meaning “Satisfactory to Us”

Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that courts should review an ERISA participant’s claim for benefits under a de novo standard of review unless the plan gives the plan fiduciary discretionary authority to...more

10/9/2014 - Benefit Plan Sponsors Contract Drafting De Novo Standard of Review Disability Benefits Employee Benefits Employer Liability Issues ERISA

Equitable Surcharge Awarded to Life Insurance Plan Beneficiary

A federal district court in California awarded relief in the form of surcharge to a life insurance plan beneficiary who claimed that a plan administrator failed to provide complete and accurate information in response to...more

6/12/2014 - Beneficiaries Equitable Surcharge Life Insurance

Court Approves USERRA Class Action Settlement Over Pension Contributions

A federal district court in Colorado recently approved a settlement agreement resolving class action claims brought under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). The documents filed in support...more

6/2/2014 - Class Action Employee Benefits Pensions Settlement United Airlines USERRA

Despite Windsor, Federal Court Rejects Challenge to a Self-Insured ERISA Health Plan’s Denial of Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in US v. Windsor, the requirement that an ERISA health plan provide health coverage for same-sex spouses has often hinged on whether an employee benefit plan was insured or...more

5/22/2014 - Denial of Benefits DOMA Employee Benefits ERISA Marriage Marriage Equality Same-Sex Marriage SCOTUS US v Windsor

View From Proskauer: Investigating and Deciding Severance Benefits Claims

Plan administrators charged with administering Employee Retirement Income Security Act-governed severance plans are often confronted with the question of whether they should conduct an independent investigation into the...more

5/15/2014 - Employer Liability Issues ERISA Hiring & Firing Internal Investigations Plan Administrators Severance Agreements Severance Pay Termination

District Court Concludes Statute of Limitations Defense Must Be Asserted During Administrative Claims Process

Plan administrators sometimes are confronted with claims that appear untimely, but nevertheless focus solely on the substantive issue raised by the claim. A recent ruling from a federal district court in New Jersey suggests...more

5/2/2014 - Administrative Hearings Severance Agreements Statute of Limitations

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - April 2014

This month we discuss the evolving case law on the issue of whether unpaid employer contributions due under a collective bargaining agreement can be viewed as plan assets such that the individuals who decide to withhold such...more

4/21/2014 - Breach of Duty Collective Bargaining ERISA Executive Compensation Fiduciary Duty Healthcare Healthcare Reform IRS Severance Pay Tax Reform

Providing A “Full and Fair Review” Does Not Make An ERISA Plan

A federal district court in Kansas concluded that attaching a statement of ERISA rights, i.e., a two page document listing and explaining the rights and protections provided by ERISA to plan participants, to a life insurance...more

3/5/2014 - Employee Benefits ERISA Life Insurance

Fiduciary Breach Claims Barred by ERISA’s Six-Year Statute of Limitations

The Eleventh Circuit recently dismissed a participant’s fiduciary breach claims against SunTrust’s 401(k) plan fiduciary committee members on the ground that the claims for imprudently selecting certain investment options was...more

3/5/2014 - 401k Breach of Duty ERISA Fiduciary Duty Statute of Limitations

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - January 2014

This month we look at part three of our three part series on Class Actions. In part three, Robert Rachal and M. Todd Mobley address the role of experts in class certification post Wal-Mart and Comcast and how to use and...more

1/21/2014 - Blue Cross Burden of Proof Cafeteria Plans Class Action Class Certification Comcast Contraceptive Coverage Mandate Daubert Standards Discrimination ERISA Flexible Spending Accounts General Motors Health Savings Accounts Human Resources Professionals IRA Predominance Requirement Rule 23 Same-Sex Marriage SCOTUS Subject Matter Experts Wal-Mart

Regions Financial Agrees to Pay $22.5 Million to Settle ERISA Stock-Drop Litigation

According to a December 18, 2013 motion for preliminary approval, Regions Financial Corp. has agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle an ERISA stock-drop litigation pending in the Western District of Tennessee. Plaintiffs...more

1/6/2014 - ERISA Settlement Stocks

Supreme Court Affirms Enforceability of Plan Limitations Provision

Resolving a split among the Courts of Appeal, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the Second Circuit in finding enforceable a limitations provision in a long term disability ERISA plan that set forth the length of the...more

12/17/2013 - Disability Disability Insurance ERISA Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co. Proof of Loss SCOTUS Statute of Limitations

SunTrust Plan Participants’ Stock-Drop Claims Tossed A Second Time

A federal district court in Georgia recently dismissed a suit brought by participants in the SunTrust Bank 401(k) savings plan alleging fiduciary breaches based on defendants’ decision to continue permitting investment in...more

10/24/2013 - 401k Savings Plans Stocks Subprime Mortgages SunTrust

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - October 2013

This month we return to the age-old question – "What makes someone a fiduciary?" As Nicole Eichberger explains, the Seventh Circuit reminded us that the meaning of a "functional fiduciary" depends on exercise/conduct in...more

10/18/2013 - DOL DOMA Employee Benefits ERISA Fiduciary Duty Life Insurance Litigation Strategies Same-Sex Marriage State of Celebration Tax Deductions

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - September 2013

Editor's Overview - Health care issues make the headlines once again in this month's ERISA Litigation Newsletter. Tzvia Feiertag first provides practical and timely tips for insured ERISA health plan sponsors on...more

9/18/2013 - Benefit Plan Sponsors DOL DOMA Employee Benefits ERISA Healthcare MLR Rebate Same-Sex Marriage SCOTUS US v Windsor

Life Insurance Beneficiary Who Murdered Policyholder Is Not Entitled To Benefits

Applying the common law “slayer rule,” a federal district court in New York held that a beneficiary of an ERISA-governed life insurance plan forfeit his claim to insurance proceeds after he pled guilty to murdering the...more

9/11/2013 - Beneficiaries Denial of Benefits Eligibility ERISA Life Insurance Murder

Third Circuit Concludes That Insurer Did Not Breach its Fiduciary Duties in Paying Benefits Through A Retained Asset Account

The Third Circuit recently found that while a life insurance company acts as a fiduciary in choosing to use a retained asset account to distribute benefits, it did not breach its fiduciary duties in making that choice....more

8/26/2013 - Fiduciary Duty Life Insurance Retained Asset Accounts

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