On June 26, 2013, when the Supreme Court determined that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional, the tax and benefit plan implications were unclear. Later, in Revenue Ruling 2013-17, the...more
As Frank Sinatra would say: “Regrets, I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention.” In my e-book, How to Succeed in the 401(k) Plan Business: (and 401(k)'d: A Life) (cheap plug here, available on Amazon.com for...more
While most of the news about 401(k) plan fiduciaries and their responsibilities is about plan expenses, plan investments, and participant education, there is very little topic about the one issue that is important that most...more
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has affirmed an unusually large award of $3.8 million in a case involving the denial of long-term disability benefits. In Rochow v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No....more
Whoever said that there is no such thing as a dumb question obviously wasn’t in attendance at my Global History class in high school when someone asked whether it was true that if you take a picture of an Amish person, the...more
Retirement plan fiduciaries should consider the following best practices to improve their plan’s governance in 2014: (i) if fiduciary duties have been delegated, make certain that the delegations are in writing and are being...more
Future Threats That a 401(k) Plan Sponsor Should Be Aware Of.
What might be good today, may not be good tomorrow.
What was good yesterday might not be a good today. Asbestos was a great fireproof building...more
The HIPAA final omnibus rule (Omnibus Rule) made sweeping changes to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, Breach Notification and Enforcement Rules earlier this year. Although the compliance deadline of September 23, 2013 has come...more
What was good yesterday might not be a good today. Asbestos was a great fireproof building material until it was found to cause asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma Thalidomide was a great drug for morning sickness until it...more
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
This month we look at part two of our three part series on Class Actions. In part two, Robert Rachal, Page Griffin and Madeline Chimento Rea address Wal-Mart's Rule 23(b) principles, including some defenses to plaintiffs' use...more
When my wife and I bought our house, there were quite a few things that the previous owner forgot to tell us such as the fact they never bothered to pull the pipes from the dental office run by a previous owner 20 years...more
One of the most annoying phrases out there is: “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”. I have disliked it for more than 20 years after seeing a student government political candidates use it back at Stony Brook.
I love Las Vegas and I hate to gamble, which explains why I haven’t been to Atlantic City since 1995. I love the sights, sounds, the entertainment, the food, and everything but gambling. I hate gambling because I don’t like...more
The Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) Registered Plans Directorate (RPD) recently made two announcements that plan sponsors and administrators should be aware of: (i) a project to assess the compliance of DB plans; and (ii) a...more
The issue of who may be a proper defendant in an ERISA claim for benefits has not received consistent treatment in the courts. On the one hand, a federal district court in Minnesota recently concluded that a third party...more
How will a court construe ambiguities in ERISA plan terms?
If the plan confers discretion to the administrator “to interpret plan terms,” ambiguities may NOT be construed against the plan administrator....more
Did you know that awarding at least some benefits, rather than denying benefits entirely, helps prove the claims administrator is “unbiased”?
Also, when there are sharp conflicting opinions between the claimant’s...more
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been around for more than a century and it proclaims itself to be the “Greatest Show on Earth”. In 1985, the Greatest Show on Earth presented a living unicorn. Of course, the...more
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") is a federal law that sets minimum standards for most group employee benefit plans and pension plans in the private industry....more
Earlier this month we reminded you that plan administrators of participant-directed ERISA defined contribution retirement plans (e.g., 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, profit sharing plans and money purchase plans) had to...more
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2013-02 on July 22, 2013, which provides plan administrators of individual account plans with participant-directed investments (such as 401(k) and...more
On July 22, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2013-02, which provides plan administrators of individual account plans with participant-directed investments (such as 401(k) and...more
The Department of Labor has provided plan administrators with a one-time opportunity to delay annual distribution of investment information to retirement plan participants for up to 6 months in 2013 or 2014....more
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced today in Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) No. 2013-02 that it was adopting a temporary enforcement policy that would offer plan administrators temporary relief from certain of the...more
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