Employee Retirement Income Security Act Employee Benefits

Employee Retirement Income Security Act is a United States federal law enacted in 1974 to set minimum standards for pension and health plans in the private sector and to protect participants in those plans.... more +
Employee Retirement Income Security Act is a United States federal law enacted in 1974 to set minimum standards for pension and health plans in the private sector and to protect participants in those plans.  ERISA requires plans to provide information to participants, establishes a grievance process,  and allows participants to sue for benefits or breach of fiduciary duties.  less -
News & Analysis as of

U.S. Supreme Court Abolishes the Presumption of Prudence in ERISA Stock Drop Cases

A recurring scenario in ERISA litigation involves claims against fiduciaries of 401(k) retirement plans who are alleged to have breached their fiduciary duty by failing to discontinue investment in employer stock following a...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

Supreme Court Rejects “Presumption of Prudence,” Adopts New Pleading Standards in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer

The Supreme Court of the United States has issued its highly anticipated decision in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, No. 12-751. In an opinion written by Justice Breyer for a unanimous court, the Supreme Court held...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

ESOPs’ Fables: On Winning Wars but Losing Battles

As the end of the Supreme Court term approached, decisions came down fast and furious. Last week’s big decisions, at least around our nerdish water cooler, were Halliburton and Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer. (Yes, we...more

Monthly Benefits Update

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court held that regulations under the Affordable Care Act that require employer group health plans to provide contraceptive coverage violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)....more

Employee Benefits Developments - June 2014

In This Issue: - Rulings, Opinions, Etc. ..Validating Rollover Contributions: New Guidance - Case ..Stock Drop Case Development: The Supreme Court Rejects The Presumption Of Prudence ..Dividend...more

Supreme Court Decides ESOP Fiduciary Duty Case: Fifth Third Bancorp et al. v. Dudenhoeffer et al.

On June 25, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Fifth Third Bancorp et al. v. Dudenhoeffer et al., No. 12-751, holding that a fiduciary of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) is subject to the same duty of prudence that...more

ERISA Stock-Drop Class Actions: As One Door Opens for Plaintiffs, Another Closes

In ERISA stock-drop class actions, plaintiffs routinely allege that their employers breached a duty of prudence by permitting employees to invest their retirement assets in their company’s stock. Until today, defendants...more

Supreme Court Clarifies ESOP Fiduciaries’ Obligations

On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that a fiduciary of an “employee stock ownership plan” (ESOP) is subject to the same duty of prudence that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)...more

"Supreme Court Holds No Presumption of Prudence for ESOP Fiduciaries"

Today, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of the United States held in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer that fiduciaries of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) that invest in the employer’s securities are not...more

Employee Benefits: ERISA Fiduciary Guidance - Fairness for Defined Contribution Fees (6/14)

There has been a tremendous amount of focus on participant-assessed fees in 401(k) and 403(b) plans over the last couple of years. This has come about, in part, because of lawsuits and the Department of Labor (DOL)...more

Be Wary of Plan Providers with Gray Hats

One of my favorite genres is the Western. While I prefer the works of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood to those of John Ford and John Wayne, I have always been a big fan of these films. I always like the idea that the good...more

Welcome To The Jungle

What happens when a plan administrator relies on information received from a third party to make a denial of benefits decision under an ERISA plan? Does the plan administrator bear the burden of weighing the relative...more

Key Take-Aways from the "Impact of Mergers & Acquisitions on California Employers" Presentation

As a follow up to the April 29, 2014 audiocast presented by lawyers from the California HR team on the “Impact of Mergers & Acquisitions on California Employers,” the presenters have shared their most important “take-away”...more

What Marriage Equality Means for Your Employee Benefits

A frequent headline in the news as of late has been “Federal Judge in State X finds same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional” and then shortly thereafter “Hundreds of couples marry in State X” complete with a picture of a...more

In an Opinion with Far-Reaching Implications, the Second Circuit Finds Insurance Coverage for an ERISA Claim

When a general liability policy expressly provides coverage for employee benefits liability and the plaintiff in the underlying suit alleges a violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), does...more

The Federal Court for the Southern District of New York Rules that Employers with Self-Insured Health Plans Need Not Offer Medical...

The issue of same-sex spousal rights is now largely resolved for qualified retirement plans. However, substantial questions about same-sex spouse health benefits remain unanswered. In Roe v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield,...more

What's New Under the Defense of Marriage Act?

A major reason that employee benefits, such as employer- provided healthcare and retirement plans, exist is that they provide a tax-advantaged way for an employer to provide additional compensation to an employee, her spouse,...more

If they made the poor Plan decisions, they may take offense on your criticism

Two years ago, I had the worst call with a prospective client in the 14 years I have been an ERISA attorney. Without divulging any information about this prospective client, this 401(k) plan sponsor was like many...more

Discriminatory Defined Benefit Plans: Finding Retirement Gold in the Least Likely of Places

We live in politically charged times. Congress seems unable to reach a consensus on anything, including where to have the annual congressional Christmas ball! Years of political crossfire over the Affordable Care Act have...more

ERISA: “Derivative Standing” Allows Medical Provider To Obtain Reimbursement From ERISA Plan

Medical providers often have a patient/ERISA plan participant assign rights under an ERISA health care plan to allow the medical provider to seek payment for medical services provided....more

Ninth Circuit Takes Narrow View of ERISA Surcharge Remedy

In Gabriel v. Alaska Electrical Pension Fund, the Ninth Circuit ruled that a pension plan participant could not be “made whole” by using the equitable remedy of surcharge to recover pension benefits he was erroneously told he...more

More Plan Sponsors are asking for ERISA Fiduciary Services

I remember when I was in law school and we moved into a new building a few blocks away from the main campus. The computer sync site at the new building had a number of Apple Macs and the former law school Dean didn’t...more

Plan Sponsors’ Decision to Change Form of Employer Contributions Not A Fiduciary Function

The Second Circuit recently held that Morgan Stanley and others were not de facto ERISA fiduciaries by virtue of having authority and means to fund company contributions with stock rather than cash. In so ruling, the Court...more

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