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

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...

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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...

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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...

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Business As Usual: Supreme Court Upholds ACA Subsidies

By Tom Dowling | July 6, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Care Reform, Health Plan, Welfare Plans The United States Supreme Court recently held in King v. Burwell that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) permits individuals to receive health insurance premium subsidies through federally-facilitated exchanges (in addition to state-based exchanges). Because this decision is consistent with existing agency interpretation,...

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Same Sex Marriage: Effect on Benefits

By Angela Bohmann | July 2, 2015

Cafeteria Plans, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans The United States Supreme Court recently held in Obergefell v. Hodges http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf that all states must recognize and allow marriages between same sex partners. Depending on an employer's current employee benefits plan, certain provisions may need to be changed in light of...

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Internet Posting of SPD is Insufficient

By Angela Bohmann | May 22, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Welfare Plans Employers know that they must prepare and distribute a summary plan description (SPD) for their ERISA benefit plans, including retirement benefits, health insurance, life insurance and disability insurance. Because of the length of such documents, employers may prefer to distribute the documents electronically. Some...

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Supreme Court: 401(k) Plan Fiduciaries Have an Ongoing Duty to Monitor

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation In April 2013 I reported on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Tibble v. Edison International, which involved an alleged breach of fiduciary duty by the Edison 401(k) Savings Plan committee selecting six retail mutual funds when institutional share classes were available. In the 2013 decision, the 9th...

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A Bad Deed is Not Entirely Unpunished

By Angela Bohmann | May 13, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Retirement Plans Richard Thomas embezzled nearly $20,000,000 from his employer. The employer then kept Thomas’s profit sharing account of about $21,000 as an offset against the embezzled amount. Of course, this violated ERISA’s anti-alienation provisions. Thomas sued his former employer for the money and won. To add to the...

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Ameriprise Avoids Trial On Class Action Suit By Current and Former Employees With $27.5 Million Payment

By Jeffrey Cairns | March 31, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans In 2011, a group of current and former employees filed a class action lawsuit in the District Court of Minnesota claiming that Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and members of its 401(k) Plan fiduciary committee had breached their fiduciary duty to the Plan participants and engaged in self-dealing. The specific actions...

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Be Careful What You Promise Employees Who Leave Your Employment

By Angela Bohmann | March 5, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Welfare Plans Clients sometimes like to ease the transition for employees who are retiring or whom the client would like to encourage to leave. One strategy is to continue the employee “on payroll” for a period of time with the expectation that all benefits will remain in place. However, the practice makes benefits lawyers...

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