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

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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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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