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 ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation Posts

Send Out the Search Party: The DOL and Other Agencies Focus on Plan Efforts to Locate Missing Participants (Part 1)

By Ashley Cross | March 16, 2018

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans In the past year, the Department of Labor (DOL) has drastically increased audits of retirement plans with participants – or beneficiaries – who cannot be located in conjunction with the distribution of owed benefits. The DOL has directed its attention to Form 5500 filings disclosing high numbers of terminated...


New Disability Claims Procedures May Apply to Qualified and Nonqualified Retirement Plans, Too

By Audrey Fenske | March 9, 2018

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans As mentioned in our recent blog, the date for complying with the new disability claims procedures (April 2, 2018) is rapidly approaching.  In addition to making sure disability plans comply with the new rules, employers should also be reviewing other ERISA plans, such as qualified retirement plans and nonqualified...


Thanks for Noticing: Disability Claims Procedure Regulations Change Notice Requirement Next Month, Impose Strict Compliance Standard

By Abigail Clark | March 8, 2018

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans 29 C.F.R. §2560.503-1 The DOL's revised ERISA disability claims procedures regulations will be taking effect early next month, and plan sponsors should take a hard look at plan processes over the next few weeks to ensure compliance. The new requirements apply to disability benefit claims filed after April 1, 2018,...


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....


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...


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...


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....


Owner/Trustee of 401(k) Plan Accused of Having Eyes Wide Shut on Fiduciary Duties

By Jeffrey Cairns | October 25, 2016

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans, Uncategorized Last June I blogged about the trend of participant fee class actions moving down to smaller 401(k) Plans. Occasionally, class actions are brought based on other breaches of fiduciary duties,...


Employers Who Self Administer Life Insurance Plans Had Better Do So Correctly

By Angela Bohmann | September 13, 2016

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Uncategorized, Welfare Plans Many employers self-administer welfare benefit plans such as life insurance or disability insurance plans. This self administration requires the employer to determine eligibility for coverage, remit proper premiums and notify the insurance carrier about changes in coverage. The insurance carrier often does not even...


Inside Trustees for Small Minnesota 401(k) Plan Face Class Action Over Excessive Fees

By Jeffrey Cairns | June 1, 2016

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans A Minneapolis law firm recently filed a class action complaint against Lamettry’s Collision, Inc. and the Trustees of its 401(k) Plan, CFO Stephen Daniel and President Joan Lamettry for various breaches of fiduciary duty with respect to fees charged to Plan participants’ accounts in the Company’s 401(k) Plan....