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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

DOL 2014 Fall Regulatory Agenda

Introduction - The Department of Labor has released the 2014 Fall Regulatory Agenda. The updated agenda provides the anticipated publication dates for the next steps in the regulatory process for nearly a dozen ERISA...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

Plan Administrators Have Discretion to Round

Cash balance plans often provide a pay credit and an interest credit in determining a participant’s accrued benefit. The pay credit is often a percentage of compensation. The interest credit is established in the plan and can...more

Pearls of “Wisdom” for 401(k) Plan Providers

I am no genius and I’m sure all of you will agree. I have only been success- ful as an ERISA attorney because of my ambition and an uncanny ability to connect with my audience even though I’m still that shy kid from Canarsie,...more

Considerations for Employee Benefit Programs That Benefit Employers and Employees

Employers must compete in the marketplace for talented employees at every level—both in recruitment and retention. It is thus in employers’ best interests to provide employee benefit plans that are attractive to employees and...more

Are You Forgetting Something?

In This Issue: - Qualified Plan Administrative and Compliance Deadlines (based on calendar year plan) - Health and Welfare Benefit Plan Administrative and Compliance Deadlines - Are Your Plans Subject to...more

What Is a Prudent Investment? Using Simulation to Evaluate Investment Selections

Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), plaintiffs may file suit alleging that the selection of certain retirement investments was imprudent. Such litigation occurs after a retirement plan incurs...more

Avoid the next big thing in 401(k) Litigation

ERISA litigators need to eat and once they exhausted much of the fee litigation prior to the implementation of fee disclosure, they needed something else to sink their teeth in. Then we got cases regarding using the wrong...more

Fifth Circuit Adopts Majority Rule on What Constitutes “Other Instruments” of an ERISA Plan

ERISA plan administrators facing broad requests for production under ERISA section 104(b)(4) may limit their production to formal legal documents governing the plan, based on new guidance from a panel of the Fifth Circuit in...more

Reasonable Fee Issues for Fiduciaries on the Horizon

The Supreme Court is poised to address whether fiduciaries' decisions—especially in using fee sharing arrangements—are subject to deference when challenged. The Eighth and Ninth Circuit courts recently decided these issues,...more

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

Senate Unanimously Approves Bill Modifying ERISA Section 4062(e)

On September 16, 2014, the United States Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 2511, which would amend Section 4062(e) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA), to clarify the definition of...more

Tales of a Former TPA Attorney

I was very lucky that when I started as an ERISA attorney in 1998, I worked as a staff attorney for third party administrators (TPAs) because it gave me insight and experience that I could never have gotten as an attorney...more

Contingent Workers . . . From An ERISA Perspective

The Issue: Companies often divide their workers into a variety of categories . . . agency employees, temporary employees, provisional employees, independent contractors, and so on. Unfortunately, many companies believe that...more

Retirement Plan Professionals That Plan Sponsors Should Avoid

In the Nelson Algren novel, A Walk on The Wild Side, there are 3 important rules of life to follow: “Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom’s. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse...more

Proactive Steps Retirement Plan Sponsors Should Take

Retirement plan sponsors have a lot of headaches and liability because of their role as plan fiduciaries. They can sit back and do nothing, thereby increasing their potential liability. They can also be proactive and take...more

New Guidance on Locating Missing Participants for Terminated Defined Contribution Plans

On August 14, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provided new guidance to plan fiduciaries of terminated defined contribution plans for locating missing and unresponsive participants in order to distribute their...more

Fiduciary Notice Obligations Associated with Change of Carriers

This case discusses the fiduciary obligation of plan administrators to inform participants in advance of ERISA’s statutory notice periods regarding the potential impact caused by a change of life insurance carrier under a...more

Advisors Advantage - August 2014

Dealing with adversity. It's about how you deal with it. I'm a huge Aerosmith fan since high school and it's because the music resonates with me because it reminds me of the experiences that I have gone through...more

Plan Sponsor Should Avoid These Retirement Plan Provider “Con Games”

The George Clooney-Brad Pitt trilogy of heist films known as Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, and Ocean’s Thirteen were remembered for their twist endings, stylish pacing, and lightheartedness. Since the Ocean gang were...more

It’s always the Plan Sponsor’s fault

Seven years ago, I was asked to look at a $25 million 401(k) plan that was in complete disarray and I was flabbergasted because it belonged to a law firm that claimed to have an ERISA practice. There was no financial advisor...more

De Facto Plan Administrator Claims in the First Circuit

According to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(c)(1)(B) of ERISA, it is within a court’s discretion to award a penalty of up to $110 per day based on an administrator’s failure to comply with a plan participant’s or beneficiary’s request for...more

Advisors Advantage - July 2014

If they made the poor Plan decisions, they may take offense on your criticism. They will take offense. Two years ago, I had the worst call with a prospective client in the 14 years I have been an ERISA attorney...more

Yeah, I know, Everyone does it

I was never part of the in crowd. Look at my picture, could I ever be in the “in crowd”? I’m always the odd one out, that’s why I dressed up as the Rodney Dangerfield character, Al Czervik from Caddyshack on Halloween. While...more

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