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

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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If the Tax Withholding is Wrong, Don’t Rely on the Employer to Fix it

By Angela Bohmann | June 25, 2012

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Payroll, Retirement Plans Verizon Communications, Inc. sponsored a number of plans for its foreign employees. These employees were citizens of foreign countries who never worked in the United States. Because these employees never worked or resided in the United States, their employment income and the benefits from their retirement plans were...

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Not All Courts Agree With The Eighth Circuit

By Angela Bohmann | June 4, 2012

Deferred Compensation and 409A, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Executive Compensation I blogged recently about an Eighth Circuit decision concluding that an agreement with a single employee cannot be an ERISA plan because a plan necessarily requires more than one participant. Other courts disagree. Recently the United States District Court for the District of Idaho in the case of Knoll v. Moreton...

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Short Term Disability Plan as a Payroll Practice

By Angela Bohmann | May 16, 2012

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Welfare Plans I blogged recently about an Eighth Circuit decision where the court concluded that a deferred compensation agreement with a single employee did not constitute an ERISA plan. I warned employers that courts do not always accept an employer’s characterization of a plan or program as being covered by ERISA. Another...

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Agreement With Single Employee is Not an ERISA Plan

By Angela Bohmann | May 15, 2012

Deferred Compensation and 409A, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Executive Compensation If an arrangement is subject to ERISA, state law claims relating to that arrangement are preempted. In some situations, therefore, employers try to argue that a particular arrangement is subject to ERISA. In a recent decision involving a state law breach of contract claim, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals...

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Another Way to be Hit with Withdrawal Liability

By Angela Bohmann | April 23, 2012

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Multi-employer Plans, Retirement Plans Employers who participate in multiemployer pension funds know that if they withdraw from those funds they may be required to pay withdrawal liability if the plan is underfunded. Employers who sell their assets to an unrelated buyer can avoid that withdrawal liability if the buyer agrees to assume an obligation to...

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