J. Christian Nemeth

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J. Christian (Chris) Nemeth provides legal counsel on complex commercial litigation and government investigations, including ERISA matters, financial and banking cases, business torts and breach of contract actions. Chris is the Co-Chair of the Firm’s ERISA Litigation group and works closely with the Firm’s Employee Benefits department on all types of Litigation matters, Department of Labor investigations and similar issues. Read Chris Nemeth's full bio.

ESOP Litigation: Latest Trends and Questions


By on Jul 6, 2022
Posted In Employee Benefits, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Retirement Plans

On May 6, 2022, McDermott Partner Chris Nemeth delivered a presentation during the 2022 TEA National Conference titled “ESOP Litigation: Latest Trends and Open Questions.” His presentation focused on recent significant employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) court decisions and emerging litigation trends in the ESOP industry. Chris and his co-presenter touched on the enforceability of...

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Internal Trustee Fiduciary Liability


By on Jan 12, 2022
Posted In Employee Benefits, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Privacy and Data Security, Retirement Plans

What are an employee stock ownership plan’s (ESOP) internal trustee’s fiduciary duties? What are some of the most common liability areas for trustees? And how can trustees prevent common liability pitfalls? In this presentation, McDermott Partner J. Christian Nemeth offers insight into fiduciary duties, standards and best practices. Access the slides.

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Illinois Federal Court Dismisses ERISA Claims Against 401(k) Fiduciaries


By and on Aug 5, 2020
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Retirement Plans

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requires plan fiduciaries to act prudently and loyally when making decisions about the plan. In Martin v. CareerBuilder, LLC, a federal district court held that the complaint’s allegations about expensive recordkeeping costs and imprudent investment options failed to give rise to an inference that the defendants...

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The Biggest Benefits Rulings of 2020: Midyear Report


By on Jul 29, 2020
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans, Retirement Plans

The US Supreme Court took up several Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) cases this term, handing down both a major loss and a substantial win to employees looking to sue their employers over retirement plan mismanagement. In a recent Law360 article, McDermott Partner Chris Nemeth discusses these decisions. “It’s going to be really interesting...

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Class Certification Denied in ERISA Health Coverage Lawsuit


By , and on Nov 12, 2019
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans

A federal district court denied class certification to health plan participants who claimed the plan promised them lifetime benefits. The court found too many individualized questions about what the plan told each participant, and the claims could not be resolved on a class-wide basis. Fitzwater, et al. v. Consol Energy, Inc., et al., No. 2:16-cv-09849...

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Tyll v. Stanley Black & Decker: When Plan Ambiguity Cost an Employer $4 Million


By , , and on Sep 12, 2019
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans

An employer learned the full cost of ambiguity when a Connecticut federal district court agreed with an employee’s widow that the word “maximum” was ambiguous in the company’s life insurance plan, thus making the widow entitled to an additional $4 million in benefits. This decision serves as a warning for employers sponsoring insured benefits. Access...

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Federal Court Dismisses Challenge to ESOP Transaction


By and on Aug 13, 2019
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), Fiduciary and Investment Issues

In Lee v. Argent Trust Co., the court dismissed ERISA claims challenging an ESOP stock transaction because the plaintiff, who “fundamentally misunderstands the nature of the” ESOP transaction, did not allege that she suffered any injury. This decision is important to educate other courts about economics, particularly in cases where plaintiffs rely on little more than...

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Big ERISA Decisions on the Horizon—SCOTUS to Review Third ERISA Case this Term


By , , and on Jul 23, 2019
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Retirement Plans

The US Supreme Court recently agreed to review the Eighth Circuit’s decision in Thole v. US Bank, in which the Eighth Circuit held that participants in an overfunded defined benefit pension plan lack standing to sue for fiduciary breaches under ERISA. The Supreme Court’s decision in this case—the third ERISA case accepted by the court...

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Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Sulyma v. Intel Statute-of-Limitations Decision


By and on Jun 18, 2019
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Retirement Plans

The US Supreme Court recently agreed to hear Sulyma v. Intel Corp. Investment Policy Committee, a case in which the Ninth Circuit ruled that ERISA’s three-year statute of limitations requires a plaintiff to actually read materials in order to start the running of ERISA’s three-year statute of limitations. ERISA § 413(2) bars actions more than...

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US Supreme Court to Review Unusual Second Circuit Decision in Stock Drop Case Against IBM


By and on Jun 11, 2019
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Retirement Plans

On Monday, the US Supreme Court agreed to review the Second Circuit’s decision in Jander v. Retirement Plans Committee of IBM, a “stock drop” lawsuit against IBM’s benefit plan fiduciaries. The Second Circuit’s decision marked one of the few times a federal court permitted a “stock drop” lawsuit to survive dismissal since the Supreme Court’s...

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