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

Insurance Industry Sweeps Retained Asset Account Doubleheader

On August 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held in Vander Luitgaren v. Sun Life Ass. Co. of Canada, No. 13–2090, 2014 WL 4197947 (1st Cir. Aug. 26, 2014), that an insurer, acting as a claims administrator,...more

Developments Impacting Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses

As federal and state agencies and courts further examine the implications of the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling on same-sex marriage in U.S. v. Windsor, the laws and regulations governing employee benefits for...more

ERISA: Plaintiff’s Attorney Fees Denied — Filing Of Lawsuit Was Not Reason Why Benefits Were Granted

You already know that in ERISA cases a court may, in its discretion, award attorney fees if a party achieved “some degree of success on the merits.”...more

District Courts Reviewing ERISA Cases Under the Arbitrary and Capricious Review Standard Serve Only in an Appellate Role

In McCorkle v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 13-30745, 2014 WL 2983360 (5th Cir. 2014), the Fifth Circuit reversed the district court’s holding that MetLife’s adverse determination regarding the plaintiff’s claim for benefits due to...more

PBGC Publishes Final Regulations on the Phase-In Period for Guarantee of Benefits for an Unpredictable Contingent Event

The Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (“PBGC”) recently published final regulations related to the phase-in period for its guarantee of benefits that are contingent upon the occurrence of an “unpredictable contingent...more

Governments May Be Exempt From ERISA, But They Are Not Exempt From Securities Laws

ERISA lawyers know that employee benefit plans offered by state and local governments to their employees are not subject to ERISA, the federal law that generally governs benefit plans of private employers. However, other...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

District Court in Fourth Circuit Rejects Extension of Amara-like Remedies to Benefit Cases

The Honorable Martin Reidinger, sitting in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, declined Plaintiff’s invitation to extend the applicability of Cigna v. Amara, 131 S. Ct. 1866 (2011), to...more

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Important Decision Affecting Fiduciaries of ESOPs

In a recent decision, Fifth Third Bankcorp v. Dudenhoeffer, 189 L.Ed. 2d 457 (2014), the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the “presumption of prudence” previously given to fiduciaries of employee-owned stock ownership plans (ESOPs)...more

How Good the Advisor is often based on how well they play with other plan providers

What makes a good retirement plan financial advisor? Well it takes an attention to detail, an understanding of what the role to entails, and a dedication to the client. In addition, what I find is the way a good financial...more

Non-Compete Provisions in ERISA Plans – A Recent 5th Circuit Case

A recent case out of the Northern District of Texas and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals touches upon the intersection of non-compete agreements and ERISA plans....more

Financial Service Company’s Nonqualified Plan Found to be an ERISA Pension Plan

In Tolbert v. RBC Capital Markets (July 14, 2014), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that a deferred incentive compensation plan maintained by a financial services company for certain employees was an...more

Update For Retirement Plans Post-Windsor

Now that some of the dust has settled on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor, employers who haven’t done so already should take immediate steps to review their retirement plan documents and administrative...more

Combination Bonus and Deferral Plan Subject to ERISA

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a deferred compensation plan through which key employees received annual bonuses and were able to defer both bonuses and other income was an “employee pension benefit plan”...more

Are You Selling Or Downsizing A U.S. Business? Plant Closing Liability Relief May Be Coming

A long overlooked and long unenforced provision of ERISA sometimes referred to as the “plant closing rule” has caused a stir in recent years as the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) began aggressively pursuing...more

PBGC Coverage May No Longer Apply to Puerto Rico-Only Qualified Retirement Plans

Employers that sponsor defined benefit qualified retirement plans benefiting only Puerto Rico employees should be aware that Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) coverage may no longer apply. Last year, the PBGC...more

Fifth Circuit Holds Deferred Compensation Plan Is Governed by ERISA

The decision details important implications for employers that use deferred compensation arrangements....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

Employee Benefits Update: Unanimous Supreme Court Issues ERISA Fiduciary Duty Opinion

On June 25, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, which is likely to change the future of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) stock drop litigation. ...more

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

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