J. Christian Nemeth 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.

Eighth Circuit Rejects Cross-Plan Offsetting


By and on Feb 12, 2019
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Health and Welfare Plans

A recent Eighth Circuit decision regarding “cross-plan offsetting” serves as an important reminder of how ERISA’s fiduciary duties impact both employers and fiduciaries who handle claims. The case involved the common practice of cross-plan offsetting, which occurs when a claims administrator resolves an overpayment to a provider by refusing to pay that provider for a...

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Georgetown University Defeats Retirement Plan Fee Litigation and “If a Cat Were a Dog, It Would Bark”


By , , and on Jan 29, 2019
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Retirement Plans

Recently, the US District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit brought by former Georgetown employees under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) over fees and investments in its two retirement plans. Plaintiffs alleged that Georgetown breached its fiduciary duty of prudence under ERISA by selecting and...

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ERISA Class-Action Litigation over Fees in Health and Welfare Plans


By and on Dec 11, 2018
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans

Sponsors and fiduciaries of health and welfare plans should be aware of a recently filed class-action lawsuit against alleged fiduciaries of a health plan. It challenges health-plan fiduciary oversight and reasonableness of fees similar to actions against fiduciaries of defined-contribution retirement plans. The action highlights the importance of establishing and documenting prudent fiduciary processes for...

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The Top Hat-Exemption After Sikora


By , and on Nov 29, 2018
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation, Retirement Plans

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) has long been a source of complex and often-expensive litigation for employers. However, as the number of actions brought by employees under ERISA have surged, employer-defendants have often relied on the so-called top-hat exemption to dismiss certain claims involving executives. Now, several federal courts of appeals...

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Circuit Split Remains Unresolved After ERISA Case Settles


By and on Sep 27, 2018
Posted In Employee Benefits, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), Retirement Plans

On September 20, 2018, the US Supreme Court dismissed—pursuant to settlement—an ERISA lawsuit that could have resolved the circuit split over who holds the burden of proof in ERISA breach of fiduciary duty cases. In Pioneer Centres Hold. v. Alerus Fin., Case No. 17-677 (2018), the Pioneer Centres Holding Company Employee Stock Ownership Plan and...

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Court of Appeals Affirms “Paternalistic” Breach of Fiduciary Duties


By and on Sep 13, 2018
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Retirement Plans

The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently affirmed a Minnesota district court’s dismissal of a claim against Wells Fargo & Company (Wells Fargo) under ERISA. A former employee had alleged Wells Fargo breached fiduciary duties by retaining Wells Fargo’s own investment funds as a 401(k) option, and defaulting to those funds when...

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Brown University Only Partially Successful in 403(b) Lawsuit


By , and on Jul 24, 2018
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Retirement Plans

A federal judge in Rhode Island recently permitted several claims against Brown University to proceed in a lawsuit alleging that the university and its fiduciaries breached their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA), by mismanaging Brown’s defined contribution plans. This decision follows the recent decision in a...

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Northwestern University Defeats 403(b) Lawsuit


By , and on Jun 12, 2018
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Retirement Plans

A federal judge in the Northern District of Illinois recently dismissed a lawsuit against Northwestern University alleging that the University and its fiduciaries mismanaged its retirement and voluntary savings plans. This is the latest decision in a series of class action lawsuits against prominent universities in which plaintiffs allege fiduciary violations of the Employee Retirement...

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DOL Less Likely to Appeal Fifth Circuit Ruling Vacating Expansion of Fiduciary Rule in Light of Recent SEC Guidance


By , and on Apr 26, 2018
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Retirement Plans

In a recent 2-1 decision, the Fifth Court vacated the US Department of Labor’s controversial expansion of the ERISA fiduciary regulations (the New Fiduciary Rule). If the DOL does not seek a rehearing, the Fifth Circuit will enter a mandate revoking the New Fiduciary Rule nationwide. However, given recent fiduciary regulations proposed by the Securities...

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Webinar | Benefits Litigation – An Ounce of Prevention


By and on Apr 25, 2018
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Health and Welfare Plans, Retirement Plans

Join us for a webinar on Friday, May 4 as McDermott litigation attorney Chris Nemeth joins employee benefit attorney Judith Wethall to discuss what’s new in employee benefits litigation. Chris will give you a peek into a world you hope never to go! Learn about disturbing trends, traps and how to prevent your employee benefit...

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