Seth J. Hanft

Counsel

Columbus
T +1.614.462.4778
F +1.614.462.2616

Overview

Seth Hanft’s practice focuses on the areas of employee benefits and executive compensation. He assists employers of all shapes and sizes, including private and public companies and nonprofit and governmental entities, in all facets of employee benefit plan legal compliance, operation and administration. He has extensive experience in advising clients on plan design and implementation issues for defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans, all types of welfare benefit programs, and nonqualified and executive compensation arrangements.

Seth’s considerable knowledge of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code enables him to navigate clients through the complexities of Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) inquiries and audits, ERISA fiduciary compliance issues, Affordable Care Act investigations and HIPAA Privacy and Security requirements. He also has specialized benefits and insurance experience with self-insured multiple employer welfare arrangements, works regularly with businesses to complete benefits-related regulatory filings and helps implement employee benefits transition solutions in mergers and acquisitions.  A trusted advisor, Seth regularly counsels clients on executive compensation arrangements and related legal compliance issues.

Seth serves as co-leader of the Employee Benefits Group’s Health and Welfare and Employee Benefits Transactional Support Practice Teams.

Select Experience

  • Works regularly with self-insured multiple employer welfare arrangements in all aspects of legal compliance, including establishment and state certification, ongoing operation and administration, and termination.
  • Advises a U.S. manufacturer of scientific instrumentation, reagents and consumables, and software services on various benefits issues, including the transition of its health and welfare plan to a new service provider, HIPAA compliance, the negotiation of medical claims and subrogation disputes, plus provides strategic guidance on benefits changes and compliance involved in COVID-19 related issues.
  • Advised a scientific equipment supplier on a variety of employee benefit matters before and after the closing of the client's acquisition of a pharmaceutical company in another state.
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Experience

  • Works regularly with self-insured multiple employer welfare arrangements in all aspects of legal compliance, including establishment and state certification, ongoing operation and administration, and termination.
  • Advises a U.S. manufacturer of scientific instrumentation, reagents and consumables, and software services on various benefits issues, including the transition of its health and welfare plan to a new service provider, HIPAA compliance, the negotiation of medical claims and subrogation disputes, plus provides strategic guidance on benefits changes and compliance involved in COVID-19 related issues.
  • Advised a scientific equipment supplier on a variety of employee benefit matters before and after the closing of the client's acquisition of a pharmaceutical company in another state.
  • Advises a U.S. agribusiness on a variety of issues, including structural changes to its benefits program as a result of pressures arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, and multiple compensation compliance issues.
  • Regularly attends employee benefit plan committee and board meetings for clients, advises on fiduciary and administrative obligations and helps prepare benefits governance materials.
  • Helps employers establish nonqualified retirement plans and executive compensation arrangements and advises on related legal and regulatory issues (e.g., Internal Revenue Code Sections 280G, 162(m) and 409A compliance).
  • Helps resolve multiemployer pension plan withdrawal liability issues.
  • Counsels companies on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act compliance.
  • Helps clients voluntarily correct employee benefit plan errors through various IRS and DOL programs, including the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System, Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program and Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program.
  • Helps clients establish HIPAA Privacy and Security compliance programs, fashion related internal policies and train internal workforce members on compliance obligations.
  • Negotiated complete elimination of ~$1 million Affordable Care Act Employer Shared Responsibility Penalties.
  • Advised major healthcare system on implementation of new nonqualified deferred compensation arrangement and related Internal Revenue Code Section 409A compliance issues.
  • Guided large manufacturing client through employee benefits due diligence and pre- and post-close benefit transition issues as part of ~$300 million acquisition.
  • Worked with client to form and establish new health and welfare and retirement plans as part of a billion-dollar corporate spin-off transaction.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • The Best Lawyers in America® (2021 to 2022)
    • Ohio: Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
  • Ohio Super Lawyers "Rising Star" (2018)

Memberships

  • Columbus Bar Association
  • Ohio State Bar Association

Community

  • Leadership Columbus, Class of 2016
  • Ohio Supreme Court Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program
  • Faith Life Church: Small Group Leader
  • LifeCare Alliance: Meals on Wheels Volunteer
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Big Climb Participant

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Prior Positions

  • City of Cincinnati, City Solicitor's Office: Legal Assistant
  • Professor Michael Solimine, University of Cincinnati Law School: Research Assistant
  • The Honorable Sandra S. Beckwith, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio: Judicial Extern

Admissions

  • Ohio

Education

  • J.D., University of Cincinnati College of Law, 2009, summa cum laude; Order of the Coif; University of Cincinnati Law Review, Editorial Staff
  • B.A., Political Science, The Ohio State University, 2003, magna cum laude