ERISA Compliance, Counseling, Investigations and Class Litigation
Our team advises employers in a wide range of ERISA matters, including compliance with fiduciary and other regulatory requirements for existing 401(k), health, and welfare plans. We also assist employers with the development and implementation of new ERISA plans. We counsel employers regarding the legal risks that arise out of ERISA plans and recommend changes to plans and processes to minimize potential liability.
In addition to our advisory work, we defend employers against government challenges to their ERISA plans and processes. As the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has recently stepped up its scrutiny of ERISA plans, we regularly represent employers in DOL investigations and assist them in defending against DOL claims. We understand both the practical and regulatory challenges facing employers and work to help the DOL understand their perspective and reach an agreement regarding plan structure and administration.
Finally, we defend insurers and employers in ERISA class litigation. The last few years have seen a significant increase in ERISA lawsuits claiming breach of fiduciary duty in connection with retirement plan administration and operation. Our ERISA team provides preventative advice to avoid potential class-action claims and aggressive defense when class litigation arises. Defined contribution plans—which, unlike pensions, lack embedded financial incentives for employers to keep costs low and closely monitor the soundness of all investments—have been a particular target for this new wave of class claims. We bring our deep expertise in the complexities of ERISA to bear in helping our clients avoid and defend against these claims.
In addition, our life, disability, and health team represents insurers, ERISA-governed benefit plans, employers, third-party administrators, and reinsurers in ERISA benefits disputes in federal and state courts throughout the nation. See here for more on our ERISA benefits litigation practice.