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

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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Undocumented Worker Can Cause Health Plan Problems

By Angela Bohmann | December 8, 2014

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Plan Employers know that since the 1980s they have been required to check the lawful work status of employees that they hire through the I-9 process. Employers also know that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can audit their workplaces, as can the Department of Labor, and impose fines and other sanctions for...

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It is Always Good to Follow the Plan’s Claims Procedure in Denying a Claim – Part 2

By Angela Bohmann | June 9, 2014

Deferred Compensation and 409A, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation Some months ago I blogged about an Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decision involving high ranking executives participating in a company’s long term incentive plan where the executives won their suit under the plan, at least in part, because the employer had not properly followed the plan’s claims procedure. By...

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Eighth Circuit Decisions Reminds Employers of Importance of Granting ERISA Plan Administrators Discretion to Interpret Plan Terms

By Sam Butler | May 14, 2014

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit released an opinion which highlights the importance of ensuring ERISA plan documents grant plan administrators the discretion to construe and interpret the terms of the plan. In Hall v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., the Appeals Court dealt with a case in...

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Can a Failure to Hire Violate ERISA?

By Angela Bohmann | May 13, 2014

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Care Reform, Health Plan A recent decision of the federal district court for the southern district of Ohio raises interesting questions under Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) that might also affect employer liability under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The case involved a challenge by a former employee who was...

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Despite upholding a $13.4 million judgment against plan fiduciaries, the Eighth Circuit gives plan sponsors a lot to like in Tussey decision.

By Sam Butler | March 24, 2014

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans On March 19, 2014, a three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued its decision in Tussey v. ABB, Inc., No. 12-2056 (8th Cir. Mar. 19, 2014).  The case came to the Eighth Circuit on an appeal of a decision by the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri...

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