Class Action Defense - ERISA

Overview

In recent years, the number of class actions brought against benefit plans, employer plan sponsors, and fiduciaries over alleged violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) has surged. Having navigated the ins and outs of ERISA’s provisions for decades, our attorneys have a deep understanding of this complex and ever-evolving statute.

Collaborating with attorneys on our employment and benefits teams who have strong working knowledge of both ERISA and the Affordable Care Act, we develop and execute solid defense strategies by using our decades of class action procedural experience.

With a strong track record of defending clients on issues ranging from misclassification issues, Pension Benefit Gauranty Corporation litigation and retiree health insurance benefits to stock drop cases, cash balance cases and claims alleging imprudent plan investments, we are well-equipped to represent clients in high-stakes litigation where hundreds of millions of dollars are on the line.

Select Experience

  • Obtained dismissal based on standing grounds in an ERISA “stock drop” case involving a company stock fund that lost hundreds of millions of dollars over a two-year period. The decision—which significantly changed the way in which damages may be measured in these types of cases—was affirmed by the Sixth Circuit on appeal.
  • Obtained judgment in favor of a technology manufacturing company after defending it through trial and subsequent appeal in a case in which plaintiffs brought suit on behalf of salaried and hourly employees and asserted claims under ERISA, alleging entitlement to retiree health insurance benefits arising out of a plant that had been sold years before. The action was one of very few in this arena that have been tried and won by the defense.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of Michelin North America and its operating company, the B.F. Goodrich Tire Company, in district court in a putative class action challenging the substantial modification of retiree medical benefits. The decision was subsequently affirmed by the Sixth Circuit and an attempt by plaintiffs to appeal to the United States Supreme Court was denied.
  • Obtained dismissal of class action against Electronic Data Systems, in which the plaintiffs sought class certification of claims under ERISA under the theory that if overtime pay remained unpaid, the plaintiffs’ pension and 401(k) accounts were adversely affected and that the failure to properly classify employees for overtime purposes amounted to a breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of former plan trustee of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan and Trust relating to compensation agreement that trustee had entered into with family member prior to sale of company to employees.
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Professionals

Name Title Office Email
Partner Cleveland
Partner Cleveland
Partner Denver
Partner Cleveland
Partner Columbus
Partner Cleveland
Partner Columbus
Partner Cleveland
Partner Cleveland
Partner Columbus
Partner New York
Partner Cleveland
Partner Cleveland
Partner Cleveland

Experience

  • Obtained dismissal based on standing grounds in an ERISA “stock drop” case involving a company stock fund that lost hundreds of millions of dollars over a two-year period. The decision—which significantly changed the way in which damages may be measured in these types of cases—was affirmed by the Sixth Circuit on appeal.
  • Obtained judgment in favor of a technology manufacturing company after defending it through trial and subsequent appeal in a case in which plaintiffs brought suit on behalf of salaried and hourly employees and asserted claims under ERISA, alleging entitlement to retiree health insurance benefits arising out of a plant that had been sold years before. The action was one of very few in this arena that have been tried and won by the defense.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of Michelin North America and its operating company, the B.F. Goodrich Tire Company, in district court in a putative class action challenging the substantial modification of retiree medical benefits. The decision was subsequently affirmed by the Sixth Circuit and an attempt by plaintiffs to appeal to the United States Supreme Court was denied.
  • Obtained dismissal of class action against Electronic Data Systems, in which the plaintiffs sought class certification of claims under ERISA under the theory that if overtime pay remained unpaid, the plaintiffs’ pension and 401(k) accounts were adversely affected and that the failure to properly classify employees for overtime purposes amounted to a breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of former plan trustee of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan and Trust relating to compensation agreement that trustee had entered into with family member prior to sale of company to employees.

Recognition

  • Law360: Class Action "Practice Group of the Year" (2014)
  • LA Daily Journal: Top Appellate Reversals of 2014
  • Chambers USA 2017: Two Attorneys Listed
    • Paul Karlsgodt
    • Daniel Warren
  • Best Lawyers in America® 2017: Seven Attorneys Listed
    • Rodger Eckelberry
    • Joe Ezzie
    • Mark Johnson
    • Richard Knoth
    • Jerry Linscott
    • George Tzanetopoulos
    • Dan Warren
  • Recognized as one of the top law firms for client service, we were named to the 2018 BTI Client Service 30 for the fourth consecutive year.
  • Corporate Counsel® magazine guide to in-house law departments: "Go-to Law Firm" for litigation

News

Publications

Alerts

Blog

In The Blogs

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Class Action Lawsuit Defense
What Constitutes an Autodialer Under the TCPA is in Flux
By Rand L. McClellan
October 4, 2018
Partner Rand McClellan recently posted an article to BakerHostetler’s Financial Services Blog on the Ninth Circuit’s recent ruling on what constitutes an “automatic telephone dialing system” (ATDS) under the Telephone Consumer Protection...
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Class Action Lawsuit Defense
Judge Kavanaugh's Limited Class-Action Jurisprudence Reveals a Healthy Skepticism for Class Action
By Robert J. Tucker
September 26, 2018
By: Robert J. Tucker and Katherine R. Johnston* Judge Kavanaugh has had very few occasions to address the procedural mechanism of Rule 23. This is not surprising given that few class-action cases end up in the D.C. Circuit. But where he...
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Class Action Lawsuit Defense
Sixth Circuit Upholds Class Certification of FDCPA Claims Despite Spokeo Challenge
By Erika Dackin Prouty
August 22, 2018
Last month, the Sixth Circuit in Macy et al v. GC Services Ltd Partnership unanimously upheld certification of a class under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), despite arguments that the named plaintiffs failed to establish...
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Class Action Lawsuit Defense
BakerHostetler Insurance Class Action Quarterly Update, August 2018
August 14, 2018
This quarter has seen a few new types of class actions against insurers as well as aging of some more mature theories wending their way through the courts. BakerHostetler’s Class Action Defense – Insurance team has published a report with...
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Class Action Lawsuit Defense
The US Supreme Court's Ruling in American Pipe Does Not Extend to Allow Tolling of Statutes of Limitation in Successive Class Actions
June 13, 2018
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court has limited the reach of its landmark decision in American Pipe & Constr. Co. v. Utah, 414 U.S. 538 (1974), which tolled the statute of limitations applicable to a timely filed putative class...
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