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Patent Infringement Lawsuit Reminds ERISA Fiduciaries to Monitor Service Providers

In August 2014, GRQ Investment Management, LLC (GRQ) sued Financial Engines, Inc. and Financial Engines Advisors, LLC (collectively, Financial Engines), alleging that Financial Engines’ sale of account management and advisory...more

Quirky Question #251, Naming Names in SEC Filings?

Question: Our publicly traded company must file a disclosure with the SEC, and we’re trying to determine what information to include regarding recent charges of discrimination that former employees have filed with the...more

FirstPay Decision: IRS Bests Trustee in Local Tax Case

A decision last month from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit marks a disappointing end to a decade-long tax case affecting many Washington-area businesses. The case, Wolff v. United States of America, Adversary...more

Service Provider Not A Fiduciary In Negotiating Its Contract

A federal district court in Iowa dismissed a putative class action complaint brought by several 401(k) plan sponsors who alleged that Principal Life Insurance Company breached its fiduciary duties to the plans by charging...more

Seventh Circuit Again Considers Partial Terminations of Retirement Plans

When a tax-qualified retirement plan is terminated, the Internal Revenue Code (Code) generally requires that all participants in the plan be fully vested in their plan benefits. The Code also requires full vesting for those...more

Bernstein Shur Business and Commercial Litigation Newsletter #47

We are pleased to present the 47th edition of the Bernstein Shur Business and Commercial Litigation Newsletter. This month, we highlight a case that addresses claims against Facebook based on the U.S. Wiretap Act, a case...more

SDNY Follows Asadi: Internal Tipsters Not Dodd-Frank “Whistleblowers”

On December 5, 2014, the Southern District of New York in Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy, No. 14-cv-523, ruled that an employee who complains internally about securities law violations does not qualify as a “whistleblower” under the...more

SEC’s Second Amicus Brief On Whether Dodd-Frank Protects Internal Reports

On December 11, 2014, the SEC filed an amicus brief in support of Plaintiff-Appellant Mikael Safarian asking the Third Circuit to revive his Dodd-Frank whistleblower claim and endorse the agency’s definition of...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - December 2014

This month's newsletter focuses on how Plan Trustees can appropriately settle ERISA breach of fiduciary duty claims in order to achieve "complete peace." The article provides a check list and discusses strategies for handling...more

In Post-Dudenhoeffer Decision, Class Action Plaintiffs Are Allowed to Pursue Their Claims For Fiduciary Breach Against Eastman...

A federal district court has permitted plaintiffs to pursue class actions against the fiduciaries of two Eastman Kodak defined contribution plans on the ground that those fiduciaries failed to prudently manage the plan funds....more

Sixth Circuit Upholds Venue Selection Clause in Pension Plan

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld a pension plan’s venue selection clause and affirmed dismissal of the participant’s claims for benefits on the ground that such claims were not filed in the authorized...more

President Obama Signs the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014

New legislation is enacted to assist and fortify deeply troubled multiemployer pension plans. On December 16, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law sweeping changes to the current law that governs multiemployer...more

Ninth Circuit Applies Fifth Third v. Dudenhoeffer to Reverse Dismissal of Stock Drop Case

Speed Read - The Ninth Circuit becomes the first appellate court to interpret the Supreme Court’s Fifth Third v. Dudenhoeffer holding. In its ruling, the Ninth Circuit held that participants can maintain a claim...more

How to Settle an ERISA Breach of Fiduciary Duty Case and Sleep at Night: A Checklist for Plan Trustees to Consider

Plan trustees often look to settle ERISA fiduciary breach claims brought against them as a way to put the past behind them. Assuming there is enough fiduciary liability insurance coverage available to pay the proposed...more

Insurer Agrees to $140 Million Settlement in ERISA Case Challenging Revenue Sharing Practices

Nationwide Life Insurance Co. has agreed to settle ERISA fiduciary breach claims brought on behalf of a class of retirement plan trustees that purchased annuity contracts and/or services from Nationwide for their plans....more

Ninth Circuit Breathes Life Into Participant’s Claim for Surcharge

A panel of the Ninth Circuit withdrew its earlier opinion and has now joined other circuits in finding that the equitable remedy of surcharge is available for participants seeking recovery of personal losses as opposed to...more

Federal District Court Dismisses “100% Equity Strategy” Claims on Statute of Limitations Grounds

A federal district court held that participants in a defined benefit plan had standing to challenge plan fiduciaries’ strategy of investing 100% of the plan’s assets in equities, but dismissed those claims based on ERISA’s...more

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

Procedural Errors Don’t Alter Standard of Review In ERISA Claim for Benefits

The Ninth Circuit recently held that where an ERISA plan provides the plan administrator discretionary authority to determine benefit claims, procedural violations that occur during the course of the administrative claims...more

One 60-Day IRA Rollover Per Year Is The Final Answer

Although the Internal Revenue Code trumps IRS Publications, practitioners tend to use the Publications as the initial resource when handling day-to-day tax issues. However, the Publications were not part of petitioner’s...more

Employment and Immigration Issues Facing Banks

EMPLOYMENT ISSUES - 1. No compensation for compensable work - Many banks—including large, sophisticated banks—are facing class action lawsuits for not compensating non-exempt employees for compensable work....more

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Whether Pension Board's Disability Finding is Preclusive in Employee Benefits Act...

In the closing days of its November term, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to decide whether a pension board’s finding that an officer is disabled for pension purposes is preclusive of the employer’s liability for health...more

Third Circuit Affirms Whistleblowers Must Arbitrate Under Dodd-Frank

On December 8, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that application of Dodd-Frank’s Anti-Arbitration provision did not apply to causes of action asserted under the Anti-Retaliation Dodd Frank Provision due to...more

The Split Deepens: New York District Court Holds Internal Reporting Not Protected Under Dodd-Frank

In Berman V. Neo@Ogilvy LLC, 1:14-cv-523 (Dec. 4, 2014), Judge Gregory Woods of the Southern District of New York dismissed a Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation claim on the ground that internal reporting is not protected...more

UPDATE: Third Circuit Affirms Arbitrability of Dodd-Frank Retaliation Claim in Khazin v. TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., ___ F.3d...

In March, we wrote about a ruling out of the District of New Jersey enforcing an arbitration provision contained in an employment agreement that pre-dated Dodd-Frank. The court reasoned that to disregard a pre-Dodd-Frank...more

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