Ever since Enron, ERISA litigation has been on the rise. Since Enron, a new spate of class action lawsuits has been brought against household corporate names, alleging that plan fiduciaries paid their service providers more than reasonable compensation for investment and record-keeping services. While many corporate sponsors have been named as defendants in these lawsuits, financial institutions providing services to plans have not been spared. The trend may continue, as the U.S. Department of Labor has revised its fee disclosure requirements that may prove to be fertile litigation ground for the unwary, while increasing audits of ESOPs and stock contributions to pension plans.
At Thompson Hine, we have assembled a team led by veteran litigator Tim McDonald, who has devoted his practice to ERISA litigation. Our team members come from multiple practice groups, including Business Litigation, Corporate Transactions & Securities, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, Labor & Employment and Tax, combining litigation experience with the substantive knowledge necessary to address the complex and varied issues presented in litigation arising under ERISA.
We handle the full range of ERISA litigation, from handling DOL audits and DOL enforcement actions involving plan fiduciaries and service providers to breach of fiduciary duty, benefits claims, pension plans and retiree litigation:
Thompson Hine handles the full range of ERISA litigation, from defending prelitigation Department of Labor (DOL) enforcement actions involving plan fiduciaries and service providers and IRS audits of plans, to trials on fiduciary duty claims. Our lawyers include former DOL and IRS lawyers uniquely situated to understand the enforcement perspectives of both agencies. Our litigation team includes lawyers who began their careers as ERISA litigation specialists, lawyers who have been ERISA fiduciaries and lawyers who began as general litigators and subsequently developed the experience to function exclusively as ERISA litigators. With more than 24 transactional lawyers who concentrate on substantive issues involving both the tax and labor sides of ERISA, our ERISA litigation team can supplement its ERISA knowledge with one of the largest and most sophisticated employee benefit groups in the country. The ERISA litigators, when necessary, also consult with other firm lawyers who focus on securities law, banking and trust law, employment law and bankruptcy law.
In addition to regularly providing counsel to clients on fiduciary and prohibited transaction issues arising under Title I of ERISA, our ERISA litigation lawyers have experience defending clients sued for breach of fiduciary duty in private litigation and litigation brought by the DOL, including:
In addition to the cash balance lawsuits that we have defended, we routinely advise clients on the feasibility of converting their defined benefit plans to cash balance plans.
Valuation of ESOP stock continues to spawn litigation due to the inherent potential for conflicts of interest. We have defended, served as experts and counseled clients in these cases.
Our practice also includes the meat and potatoes of any large firm ERISA litigation practice: cases in which our clients are sued by participants for benefits.
Employer Stock and 401(k) Cases
Fiduciary Breach Litigation
Retiree Health Litigation
ERISA Preemption Litigation
Plan Termination and Reversion Litigation
Benefits Claims Litigation
Multi-Employer Plan Litigation
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