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

Best to Save Plan Documents Until All Retirees and Beneficiaries are Dead

By Angela Bohmann | November 14, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Retirement Plans As a result of industry consolidation over the years, employers can find themselves responsible for pension plans of companies long out of existence. A recent federal district court decision imposed a penalty of $4,470 on a plan administrator who delayed providing the widow of a plan participant with the plan document...

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You Cannot Take the Embezzler’s 401(k) Plan Balance

By Angela Bohmann | October 14, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Retirement Plans Many employers know that with few exceptions a participant’s benefit in a tax qualified retirement plan is protected from the participant’s creditors. One exception is for court orders, known as qualified domestic relations orders or QDROs, that split a benefit between the participant and a former spouse or...

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Labor Advises on Fiduciary Treatment of Revenue Sharing Payments

By Jeffrey Cairns | August 9, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans On July 3, 2013 the Employee Benefits Security Administration issued ERISA Advisory Opinion 2013-03A http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/AOs/ao2013-03a.html (the “AO”) to the Groom Law Group which had submitted a request on behalf of Principal Life Insurance Company (“Principal”). The primary question presented was...

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Courts Do Not Always Agree

By Angela Bohmann | August 5, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Welfare Plans I blogged recently about a decision from a federal district court in Virginia (Eastern Distrct) involving a widow who sought to recover life insurance benefits from her late husband’s employer-sponsored group term life insurance plan. The employer had improperly allowed the late husband to enroll in the plan.  The...

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Department of Labor Extends Deadline for Required Annual Fee Disclosures for Participants

By Jeffrey Cairns | July 26, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans On July 22, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2013-02 (the “FAB”). In the FAB, the EBSA announced a temporary policy in which it would not take any enforcement action against a retirement plan sponsor which fails to provide the...

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Supreme Court Strikes Down Federal Defense of Marriage Act – Open Questions for Benefit Plan Sponsors

By Jeffrey Cairns | July 16, 2013

Cafeteria Plans, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Plan, Payroll, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans On June 26, 2013, in a 5-4 vote the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 1993 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional as a violation of Fifth Amendment guarantees of equal protection and equal liberty. The case, United States v. Windsor No.12-307(US June 26, 2013) ...

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Health Insurance Carriers Must Also be Careful in What They Tell Plan Participants

By Angela Bohmann | June 26, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Plan I blogged recently warning employers to be careful when enrolling employees in plan benefits because the employer could be responsible to pay life insurance or disability benefits if an employee who is improperly enrolled incurs a claim. The increased liability comes from the recent Supreme Court decision, Cigna v....

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Be Careful With Your Life Insurance Enrollments

By Angela Bohmann | June 25, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Welfare Plans Over the years there have been a number of cases that have involved employers improperly enrolling employees in group life or disability insurance benefits. If the employee who should not have been enrolled dies or becomes disabled, the insurance carrier will deny coverage on the grounds that the employee should never...

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The U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Plan Sponsor’s Recovery of Participant Damages Award

By Jeffrey Cairns | April 17, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Health Plan, Welfare Plans On April 16, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-1285_i4dk.pdf finding in favor of U.S. Airways in its quest to recover $66,866 in medical expenses incurred by its employee as a result of a traffic accident. McCutchen was a...

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Ninth Circuit Decides Selection of Retail Mutual Funds Was a Breach of Fiduciary Duty

By Jeffrey Cairns | April 1, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans On March 21, 2013 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Tibble v. Edison International, http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2013/03/21/10-56406.pdf in which the Court ruled that the plan fiduciaries of the Edison 401(k) Savings Plan (the “Plan”) had breached their fiduciary duty by...

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