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

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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Long Time Separation Does Not Equal Divorce

By Angela Bohmann | March 13, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Retirement Plans Most employers know that a married participant in a qualified retirement plan must name a spouse as beneficiary for at least a portion of the benefit unless the spouse signs a notarized written consent or the spouse cannot be located. A recent U.S. District Court decision, Gallagher v. Gallagher, involved a...

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It Pays to Add a Statute of Limitations to Your Plan’s Claims Procedure

By Angela Bohmann | March 12, 2013

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Welfare Plans ERISA requires that plans contain a reasonable claims procedure. Courts have generally required claimants to exhaust that claims procedure before filing a lawsuit. In addition, if the plan gives the plan administrator discretion to interpret the plan and decide claims, a court will often give deference to the plan...

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Section 409A Tax Assessed on Discounted Stock Options – Taxpayer Sues for Refund in Federal Court of Claims

By Jeffrey Cairns | March 7, 2013

Deferred Compensation and 409A, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Executive Compensation, Payroll Code Section 409A which was effective in January 1, 2005, provides strict rules that must be applied to most deferred compensation arrangements accruing benefits after the effective date. Failure to comply with the Code and the applicable Treasury Regulations can result in a 20% surtax plus interest on the amounts...

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Be Careful How You Word Your Claims Procedure

By Angela Bohmann | December 24, 2012

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation In a recent decision of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, a retiree who had begun work as a union employee and who during his employment was promoted to a salaried position, sued his employer for failing to take into account his service both as a union employee and as a salaried...

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Self-Funded Plans Need to be Careful in Enforcing Subrogation Rights

By Angela Bohmann | September 26, 2012

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Plan A recent Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decision considered the situation of a participant covered under a self‑funded ERISA plan who sustained injuries in a slip and fall accident. The plan paid health benefits for that accident. The participant also obtained compensation by settling a civil lawsuit. Like many...

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Department of Labor Withdraws Controversial Guidance On Self-Directed Brokerage Accounts in 401(k) Plans

By Jeffrey Cairns | August 6, 2012

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans On May 7, 2012 the Department of Labor issued a set of questions and answers via Field Assistance Bulletin FAB No. 2012-02 (http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/fab2012-2.html) concerning the new fiduciary fee disclosures in Labor Regulations §2550.408(b)-2 and participant fee disclosure requirements outlined in Labor...

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

By Angela Bohmann | July 30, 2012

Compensation Questions, Deferred Compensation and 409A, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Executive Compensation A recent Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decision involved high ranking executives who participated in a company’s long-term incentive plan. Under the plan agreements, executives who did not continue employment for a three year performance period forfeited benefits under the plan unless they qualified for a...

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Participants Are Entitled to Specific Information About Their Service Credit Even Before They Are Entitled to Their Pensions

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Retirement Plans In a recent federal district court case, Whirlpool Corporation closed a factory and notified a number of former employees about the status of their pensions, including their years of credited service. The corporation’s records differed from the service records maintained by the union. Approximately five years after...

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Key Provisions of the Affordable Care Act Upheld by U.S. Supreme Court

By Jeffrey Cairns | July 2, 2012

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Care Reform, Health Plan, Welfare Plans             Last Thursday, June 28, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (the “Affordable Care Act” or “Act”) is constitutional paving the way for final implementation of its provisions....

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