News & Analysis as of

Monthly Benefits Update

As expected, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS (the “Agencies”) finalized the employer information reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”) earlier this month. The final rules, which are...more

ERISA 3(38) Fiduciaries, Big Tuna, and Buying Groceries

When the great Bill Parcells (go Big Blue!) was the head coach of the New England Patriots, he got into a tiff with owner Robert Kraft because Parcells wanted more of a say in the personnel decision-making process. Parcells...more

Private sector pension de-risking and participant protections

On Nov. 5, 2013, the ERISA Advisory Council submitted findings and recommendations on pension de-risking to the Secretary of Labor. Pension de-risking transactions have received a lot of attention lately, both in the media...more

Religious Freedom, Contraceptive Services, and The ACA: The Dilemma of the Self-Certification Provision

On February 21, 2014, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-to-1 decision, denied a preliminary injunction enjoining the federal government from enforcing the self-certification provisions of the Affordable Care Act...more

In Tussey, Eighth Circuit Weighs in on Excessive Fee Claims

The Eighth Circuit issued a highly anticipated decision yesterday in the appeal of the first ERISA excessive fee class action to proceed to a trial on substantially all of the pleaded claims. In Tussey v. ABB, the court...more

Legal Alert: DOL Proposes 408(b)(2) Disclosure Guide

On March 12, 2014, the Department of Labor (DOL) published in the Federal Register a proposed amendment to its disclosure requirements for “covered service providers” to retirement plans under ERISA § 408(b)(2) that would...more

Employment Relationship Not Required For Claim Of ERISA Violation For Benefit Rights

In a recent Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision successfully litigated by Laner Muchin, the Court addressed novel aspects of whether an employer interfered with employees’ benefit rights in violation of ERISA. The case...more

ERISA: 1st Circuit — Statute of Limitations Bars “Years of Benefit Underpayment” Claims

A new lawsuit hits your desk asserting that for the past seven (7) years the ERISA plan has been incorrectly underpaying the beneficiary....more

ERISA: 10th Circuit — How to Win Two Frequent Challenges to ERISA Benefit Denials

How do you defeat two arguments frequently used to challenge an ERISA-governed disability claim denial? Argument (1) the rationale for the claim denial changed, or Argument (2) the denial letter failed to tell...more

Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services Issue Final and Proposed Regulations Implementing the 90-day Limit...

The Affordable Care Act (the “Act”) generally prevents an otherwise eligible employee (or dependent) from having to wait more than 90 days before coverage becomes effective under a group health plan. The regulation of waiting...more

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

Do Your Plans Include a Time Limit on a Participant’s Right to Sue?

Some, but far from all, employee benefit plans set a limit on the amount of time a participant has to file a lawsuit claiming benefits under the plan. Until recently, however, not all courts would recognize these plan...more

U.S. Supreme Court to Review “Presumption of Prudence” that Favors Fiduciaries of ERISA Plans that Hold Employer Stock

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, in which the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, in response to a motion to dismiss, declined to adopt a presumption of prudence in favor of a...more

ERISA Retaliation Claims: Avoiding Potential Employer Pitfalls

Most employers and human resources professionals are well aware of the various federal discrimination statutes, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age...more

“Experienced” Plan Provider can mean a lot of things

I always talk about how plan sponsors need to work with experienced financial advisors, third party administration (TPA) firms, and ERISA attorneys on their plan needs....more

Health Care Reform’s Employer Shared Responsibility Penalties: A Checklist for Employers (Revised February 20, 2014)

Welcome to the SW Benefits Update, formerly the Employee Benefits Update. Historically, employers have had complete discretion in deciding whether to offer group health plan coverage to their employees. If they offered...more

The Wild Wild West of non-ERISA 403(b) Plans

I always say that as bad as 401(k) plans may be, 403(b) plans are in much worse shape. It didn’t help that the Internal Revenue Service only issued regulations that governed them only 30 years too late, back in 2008. It also...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - February 2014

The employee benefits issues to be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court continue to be of great significance to plan sponsors and fiduciaries. This month we review the Court's employee benefit decisions from 2013 and also...more

Court Holds That ERISA Plaintiff Cannot Claim Equitable Remedies When the Plaintiff Has Adequate Remedies to Recover Plan...

A federal court has ruled that, although a recent U. S. Supreme Court decision expanded the kinds of equitable remedies available to a plaintiff under ERISA § 502(a)(3), those remedies are still unavailable when the ERISA...more

A Simple Q&A for Retirement Plan Providers

When I was an associate at a semi-prestigious Long Island law firm, the goal was that I would start a national single employer retirement plan practice. I couldn’t have my articles published because the marketing department...more

Who's Checking The Person Who Checked The Boxes?

A Lesson In 401(k) Prototype Documents - Most small to mid-size employers sponsoring a 401(k) plan maintain their plan on a pre-approved prototype document. If you’re not familiar with the term pre-approved prototype...more

And still the #1 issue with 401(k) Plans

The fixation and discussion about plan expenses usually flares up when the stock market isn’t doing well. Two major corrections within a 10-year period (2000-2010) made fee disclosure regulations inevitable. With the way the...more

Employee Benefits Developments - January 2014

CASES - Court Finds Former NFL Player’s First Wife Is Surviving Spouse - A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit demonstrates once again the importance of divorcing your first spouse...more

Proposed Regulations Expand the Definition of Excepted Benefits

Recently issued proposed regulations would expand the categories of excepted benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the Internal Revenue Code (the Code) and the Public Health Service Act. ...more

Benefits Litigation Update - January 2014

In this issue: - Will Section 510 of ERISA Restrict Workforce Structuring under the Affordable Care Act? - A New Threat to Sponsors and Fiduciaries: Equitable Remedies After Amara - First ERISA Decision...more

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