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

Federal Court Determines that Employer Use of Employee Health Insurance Premium Payments Breach of ERISA Fiduciary Duties

By Jeffrey Cairns | November 17, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Health Plan, Payroll, Welfare Plans On November 9, 2015, Minnesota Federal District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ruled that the president and CEO of Faribault Woolen Mills Company breached his fiduciary duties under ERISA by diverting Employee health insurance premiums toward corporate and personal use. The lawsuit was brought by the U.S. Department of...


What Does the Trust Requirement of ERISA Mean?

By Angela Bohmann | October 29, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Welfare Plans ERISA requires that plan assets be held in trust so that they are protected from claims of the employer. With pension plans, it is generally easy to determine when assets become plan assets and when they should be held in trust. For welfare benefit plans, such as health plans, the situation is more complicated....


IRS Annual Limits on Qualified Plans

By Jeffrey Cairns | October 22, 2015

Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans The Internal Revenue Service has released the 2016 cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limits on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans and health savings accounts, which are largely unchanged from the 2015 numbers.  The following chart...


Can an LLC Adopt an ESOP? IRS Says Yes

By Jeffrey Cairns | October 20, 2015

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans In a private letter ruling released on September 18, 2015 (PLR 201538021),  the Internal Revenue Service concluded that an employer organized as a limited liability company (LLC) under a state statute, upon making a federal tax election to be taxed as a corporation, can adopt an employee stock ownership plan under...


Claims Administrators can be Liable for Violations of the Mental Health Parity Act

By Angela Bohmann | October 13, 2015

Health Plan The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPA) requires health plans to treat mental health and physical health benefits in much the same manner and precludes restrictions on mental health benefits that are not also found to apply to physical health benefits. The regulations enforcing those provisions are...


Not all Plans can Establish a Shortened Limitations Period for Filing Lawsuit

By Angela Bohmann | October 5, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation I recently blogged about a case in which a plan had established a shorter period of time (one year deadline) for filing a lawsuit, rather than relying on the state statute of limitation (six years) which would otherwise have applied. As I said in that blog, although courts have generally upheld reasonable plan...


Is Your Severance Policy an ERISA Plan?

By Angela Bohmann | October 2, 2015

Welfare Plans I wrote an Insight article for firm clients on distinguishing an ERISA severance plan from a non-ERISA severance policy. For those of you not on that distribution list, the article is here.


Participants in Top Hat Plans Must Exhaust Administrative Remedies

By Angela Bohmann | September 29, 2015

Deferred Compensation and 409A, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Executive Compensation So-called "Top Hat" plans are nonqualified deferred compensation plans for a select group of management or highly compensated employees. These executive compensation arrangements are exempt from many ERISA provisions, but are not exempt from ERISA's claims procedure requirements. Therefore, top hat plans must provide...


More Withdrawal Liability for Unsuspecting Business Owners

Multi-employer Plans I recently blogged about a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision that tagged a buyer of the assets of a company contributing to a multiemployer plan with withdrawal liability that the seller had not paid. A recent Ninth Circuit decision reached the same conclusion in a case where an owner shut down its business,...


Don’t Play Hide the Ball with Your Claims Procedure

By Angela Bohmann | September 21, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation ERISA does not have a statute of limitations for lawsuits brought by participants to check claim benefits under the plan. Instead, courts borrow from similar state statutes of limitations. In a decision two years ago, the US Supreme Court upheld a disability plan's one year limitations period, allowing the plan to...