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5th Circuit: Outing Whistleblower Equals Adverse Action

On November 12, 2014, in Halliburton, Inc. v. Admin. Review Bd., 5th Cir. No. 13-cv-60323, the Fifth Circuit affirmed an ARB’s decision that disclosing the identity of a whistleblower may constitute an “adverse action” under...more

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Document Preservation Notices Can Lead to SOX Violation!

On November 12, 2014, the Fifth Circuit affirmed a Department of Labor finding that Halliburton retaliated against a whistleblower by including his name in a document preservation notice. The court also held that emotional...more

Lights Out for a 401(k) Investment Fund? Don't Forget the Blackout Notice Rules.

One of your company’s 401(k) investment fund options is underperforming. Or, perhaps the fund is no longer appropriate for your employees. Or, perhaps a fund’s wildly successful fund manager has jumped ship to another fund...more

Florida Appellate Court: Open Meeting Law Applies to Collective Bargaining - The Florida Court Holds That a Mediation Settlement...

In a crucial victory for transparency, a Florida state appeals court ruled on Oct. 21, 2014, that the law will not "condone hiding behind federal mediation" when municipal governments try "to thwart the requirements of the...more

The Year to Review Your Whistleblowing Policy

This year, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has placed an increased emphasis on whistleblowing activity, both in relation to whistleblowing within authorised firms and the process of whistleblowing to the regulator....more

For Some CalPERS Employers, Withdrawing from CalPERS is Not Feasible, So Why Not Look at Alternatives?

An article published in Thursday’s edition of The Bond Buyer highlights a rising concern of counties, cities and special districts that provide retirement benefits to their employees through the CalPERS pension plan: That,...more

SEC Brings Another Bond Case Against A State

The SEC’s nationwide review of municipal bond disclosures yielded another enforcement action, this time against the state of Kanas. The Order centers on claims that the state failed to disclose its huge unfunded pension...more

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Review of Restrictions on Federal Agency Rulemaking in Mortgage Loan Officer Overtime Case

In our July 2013 alert, we reported on a federal appellate court ruling in Mortgage Bankers Association v. Harris. Mortgage Bankers Association challenged a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) 2010 opinion letter in support of...more

D.C. Circuit Rules That "Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies" Is Not Required For Violations of ERISA’S Statutory Guarantees:...

The U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has joined five other federal circuits to rule that pension plan participants need not exhaust a plan’s internal remedial procedures before they file suit in...more

Sharply Divided Illinois Supreme Court Narrows Circuit Court Jurisdiction Over Pension Board Decisions

In its second significant decision on public employee pensions of the morning, the Illinois Supreme Court has reversed the Appellate Court in The People ex rel. Madigan v. Burge. In an opinion by Justice Anne M. Burke, joined...more

Pension Reform Update

As June 30 approaches, the likelihood of an on-time balanced budget remains a question. And while there are many factors contributing to the commonwealth’s grim fiscal situation, there has been a lot of talk as of late about...more

Commissioner Rings Pension Fund Tocsin

In a speech given late last month, SEC Commissioner Daniel M. Gallagher warned that “for years, state and local governments have used lax governmental accounting standards to hide the yawning chasm in their balance sheets.” ...more

California Employers Catch One of Those Rare Wage and Hour Class Action Breaks From the California Supreme Court

Sometimes California employers do get a win when battling in the minefield of California’s wage and hour laws. So California employers, please pause to rejoice in this moment because you know you may not get another one for a...more

I Can’t Get No SATISFACTION-- In the Eleventh Circuit, Is Discretionary Language Still "Satisfactory to Us"?

Ever since the United States Supreme Court addressed the question of whether a wholesale adoption of the "arbitrary and capricious" standard of review would be appropriate for judicial review of denial of benefit...more

Employee Benefit Plan is Governmental Plan, Even Though Employees are Not, says District Court in 11th Circuit.

It is a deceptively simple statement: Governmental employee benefit plans are exempt from ERISA. 29 U.S.C. § 1003(b)(1). But what about an employee benefit plan of an entity affiliated with a governmental entity, but whose...more

U.S. District Court Upholds FDIC’s Golden Parachute Decision

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (the “District Court”) issued a memorandum and order (the “Order”) in which the District Court upheld a decision of the FDIC that contract damages sought by the...more

Kennebec County v. Maine Public Employees Retirement System: An Important Ruling for Maine’s Governmental Employers

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court (Law Court) recently handed down an important ruling limiting the administrative authority of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MPERS). In Kennebec County v. Maine Public...more

After Heimeshoff: Applying An ERISA Plan’s Contractual Limitation of Actions Provision

In Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 134 S.Ct. 604 (2013), the Supreme Court held that an ERISA plan’s contractual limitations period can be enforced, so long as the claimant has a reasonable time after exhausting...more

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

CalPERS Declares Wall Street Journal Wrong

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has a well-deserved rap as a taxpayer drain. So to rehabilitate its image, the pension fund has produced a “study” purporting that public-worker pensions are California’s...more

OSHA Releases Interim Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Regulations

OSHA recently released the interim final text of regulations implementing the whistleblower protection provision (Section 1057) in Dodd-Frank. The interim final regulations establish the timing and processes for handling...more

OSHA Publishes Interim Final Rule for CFPA Whistleblower Claims

Companies providing consumer finance products or services should review policies and training materials to ensure compliance. On April 3, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published an interim...more

OCC Issues Booklet On Wage Garnishment

On April 1, the OCC issued a booklet titled “Garnishment of Accounts Containing Federal Benefit Payments.” The booklet, a new addition to the Comptroller’s Handbook, includes interagency guidance and examination procedures...more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Jurisdiction Over Pension Dispute

The Illinois Supreme Court seemed conflicted during an extremely active oral argument in late January in the high-profile pension case People ex rel. Madigan v. Burge. Burge poses the following issue: can the Attorney General...more

Time’s Up: Supreme Court Upholds Enforcement of Claim Limitations in ERISA Plan Language

Christmas may have come a little early for plan administrators and companies looking for clarity in ERISA litigation. Last Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co. that...more

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