ERISA & Benefits Litigation

ERISA & Benefits Litigation

Our Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) litigation team comprises attorneys from multiple disciplines including ERISA, employment, tax, securities and insurance, that defend employers, their plans and fiduciaries and other plan administrators facing legal challenges related to the administration of welfare and retirement plans.

We work with clients to address legal challenges often brought by class action lawsuits, which focus not just on a plan's benefit decisions but the motivations and prudence of the plan's fiduciaries.

Clients value our successful track record in trial and appellate courts nationwide on a wide range of ERISA issues, including class action and single-plaintiff lawsuits regarding life, health, disability, pension and retiree benefits, as well as continuation coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA). Clients also look to Waller's attorneys for employee benefit litigation arising outside the context of ERISA-covered plans, such as governmental plans, stock options, change of control benefits and all other forms of executive compensation.

Denial of benefit claims have been at the core of ERISA's enforcement provision since its enactment in 1974. In some instances, plaintiffs' attorneys seek discovery beyond the administrative record, turning an expedited review into full-blown federal court litigation. Our ERISA litigation team has substantial experience in dealing with these instances and successfully defending multi-claim benefit litigation.

When it comes to retirement plan administration, the choices of investment advisors and funds offered made by employers and their retirement committees are under substantial scrutiny. The individuals responsible for managing self-funded health plans are also under increased scrutiny regarding their care in making sure employee health premiums are not inadvertently comingled with corporate assets. Our ERISA litigation team has successfully defended:

  • Companies
  • Plan administration committees
  • Directors and officers
  • Other plan fiduciaries against fiduciary duty claims

Plan Subrogation Rights

Medical welfare plans have long maintained subrogation and reimbursement rights related to medical claims paid as a result of the acts of a third party. Personal injury lawyers, however, increasingly challenge the rights of medical welfare plans to reimbursement following the settlement of a lawsuit, often through state law procedural requirements, which are preempted by ERISA. Our ERISA litigation team has successfully enforced ERISA plan subrogation and reimbursement rights, often without court litigation.

Government Investigations

Clients facing government investigations of pension and welfare benefit claims seek our guidance given our extensive experience in navigating these complex matters, including investigations by the:

  • Internal Revenue Service
  • Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Information
  • Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
  • State departments of insurance

Administrative Proceedings, Counseling and Litigation Avoidance

Our team of litigators regularly collaborate with Waller's tax attorneys to provide clients with counseling and advice on how to minimize potential employee benefits litigation exposure through appropriate compliance, plan governance and employee communications. We are familiar with the criminal law implications that potentially can arise from improper benefit plan administration and proactively counsel clients to minimize the risk of adversarial administrative proceedings and civil or criminal litigation.

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