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In recent years, the number of lawsuits — both single-plaintiff cases and class actions — brought against benefit plans, employer plan sponsors and fiduciaries over alleged violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) has surged.

  • Obtained summary judgement for a gas distributor involved in a severance case in Wyoming federal court.
  • Brought, and settled, a declaratory judgment case against the Florida Department of Insurance to stave off enforcement actions brought against a multiple employer welfare arrangement and its promoters.
  • Successfully defended a Missouri-based insurance broker against attempts by the US Department of Labor to put it out of business for alleged violations of ERISA.
  • Successfully defended an ERISA group health plan and its sponsor in a high-profile coverage denial case involving a drunk driver, first in federal district court and then on appeal (Eleventh Circuit).
  • Successfully defended a company in a suit brought against it by its former CEO, seeking to hold it liable for substantial IRS penalties the CEO incurred under a failed deferred compensation plan.
  • Defended a for-profit hospital chain sued by a receiver after it purchased two hospitals from a Catholic diocese, with respect to the church plan status of a severely underfunded pension plan.
  • Obtained dismissal of a class litigation involving approximately 1,000 potential class members alleging unlawful implementation of caps on employer contributions toward retiree health insurance premiums. Affirmed on appeal before the 6th Circuit.
  • Represented a tire company in a class action brought by 3,500 collectively bargained retirees from plants in Alabama, Indiana and Wisconsin. The plaintiffs asserted breaches of collective bargaining agreements and ERISA resulting from changes made to retiree medical benefits. The case was ultimately won at trial before an Alabama jury in a defense verdict holding the retirees’ rights were not vested. Proceedings in the case resulted in multiple reported decisions.
  • In a precedent-setting case, attorneys 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 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 the sale of a plant 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 a major manufacturer and its operating 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 a class action against a significant technology company 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 would be adversely affected and claimed that the failure to properly classify employees for overtime purposes amounted to a breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a former plan trustee of an employee stock ownership plan and trust, relating to a compensation agreement that trustee had entered into with a family member prior to sale of the company to employees.
  • Have represented plan fiduciaries in disputes with the Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration.
  • Have represented plan administrators and plan beneficiaries in disputes regarding plan benefits.
  • Have represented plan administrators in “top hat” executive compensation benefit disputes.
  • Have represented third-party COBRA administrators in numerous actions brought under ERISA.

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