Benefits Notes |

Employee benefits are an important part of every employees' total compensation package. The continuously evolving landscape in the areas of health care reform, retirement plan design, and executive compensation makes it difficult for employee benefits professionals to keep up with relevant developments. The employee benefits attorneys at Stinson Leonard Street provide human resources professionals, plan fiduciaries, actuaries, accountants, and others in the industry with practical and cost-effective assistance as they navigate through the complex laws, regulations and guidance that govern employee benefits plans. This blog highlights key developments in the employee benefits field and items of interest to our clients. Our Bloggers →

Latest Benefits Notes Posts

Tibble and Class Action Plaintiffs Win Round Two versus Edison International and Its 401(k) Investment Committees

By Jeffrey Cairns | August 22, 2017

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans In past articles in this Blog I reported on decisions of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court dealing with a class action for breach of fiduciary duty for selecting retail mutual funds in 1999 for which lower costs institutional funds were available....

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No Additional Delay on Effective Date of New Fiduciary Standards – DOL

By Jeffrey Cairns | May 25, 2017

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans This week, new U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Acosta announced that the final fiduciary regulations would go into effect on June 9, 2017. The Department also issued two pieces of guidance with regard to the regulations also referred to as the “Conflicted Advice Rules”.  The guidance consists of a set of FAQs...

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Back to Basics – Costly Consequences of Ignoring Process in Benefits Administration

By Audrey Fenske and Sam Butler | May 18, 2017

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation The stories of an employer and a long-term disability insurer and claims fiduciary for an ERISA plan, defendants in two recent cases, ring so true. In the first case, the insurer was designated as claims fiduciary for an employer's long-term disability plan, and ended up in litigation with the least friendly standard...

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Embezzlement of 401(k) Deferrals by COO of Architecture Firm is (Doubly) Costly

By Jeffrey Cairns | March 27, 2017

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Payroll, Retirement Plans On March 22, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled against Christine Bodouva that her restoration of funds to her Company’s 401(k) Plan should be offset against the District Court’s order for forfeiture in her criminal trial. U.S. v Christine Bodouva, Case 16-3937, 2nd Cir....

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IRS Issues Substantiation Guidelines for 401(k) Hardship Distributions

By Jeffrey Cairns | March 2, 2017

Retirement Plans On February 23, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service issued a “Memorandum for Employee Plans (EP) Examinations Employees,” outlining Substantiation Guidelines for safe harbor hardship distributions from 401(k) plans (“Memorandum”). The purpose of the Memorandum is to provide IRS field examiners with guidance...

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Bill Introduced To Delay Effective Date of DOL Fiduciary Rule

By Todd Martin | January 6, 2017

Fiduciary Guidance, IRAs, Retirement Plans On January 6, 2017 Rep. Joe Wilson introduced a house bill that would delay for two years the effective date of the DOL Fiduciary Rule set to take effect on April 1, 2017.  http://src.bna.com/ldB.   This legislation follows comments from a number of Republican lawmakers critical of the DOL Rule, including members...

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New Law Permits Stand-Alone Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) For Small Employers

By Todd Martin | December 14, 2016

Cafeteria Plans, Health Care Reform, Health Plan, Welfare Plans On December 13, 2016 President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act. The law had been approved with bipartisan support in the House by a vote of 392 to 26 and in the Senate by a vote of 94 to 5.  The law addresses a number of health care issues such as streamlining the process for FDA approval of drugs...

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More Ways to be Tagged with Withdrawal Liability

By Angela Bohmann | December 6, 2016

Multi-employer Plans I have written a number of posts (here, here, and here) on employers and business owners who have been held responsible for the multiemployer plan withdrawal liability of a different employer. In some cases, the liability comes from common ownership. In other cases, the liability comes because a new business is held...

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Could your Oil and Gas Interest Cause You to Be Responsible for Multiemployer Plan Withdrawal Liability?

By Angela Bohmann | November 10, 2016

Multi-employer Plans I noticed an interesting case from the Tenth Circuit which found that a two to three percent working interest in an oil and gas venture could generate self-employment income for the owner of that interest. The individual in question entered into both a purchase agreement and an operating agreement with the operator of...

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IRS Annual Limits on Qualified Plans for 2017

By Abigail Clark | October 28, 2016

Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans IRS Annual Limits on Qualified Plans for 2017 On October 27, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service released the 2017 cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limits on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans and health savings accounts. Changes from 2016 were minimal. Notice 2016-62 is available...

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