Richard J. Pearl Richard J. Pearl

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Rick Pearl focuses his practice on litigation involving the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). He represents companies, their benefits committees, plan administrators, fiduciaries, and service providers in complex, class-action litigation and Department of Labor lawsuits, audits, and investigations.  His particular expertise is with actions for breach of fiduciary duty and prohibited transactions. Read Rick Pearl's full bio. 

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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SCOTUS Holds Proof of ‘Actual Knowledge’ Required Under ERISA Statute of Limitations


By on Mar 3, 2020
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Retirement Plans

The US Supreme Court handed workers a big win by preserving a six-year deadline to file ERISA class actions as the standard, but employers have already seized on language in Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion as a road map for how to impose a shorter deadline. Justice Alito ended the unanimous opinion—which affirmed the Ninth Circuit’s...

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ERISA Cases to Watch in 2020: All Eyes on the High Court


By on Jan 23, 2020
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Retirement Plans

2020 is shaping up to be a banner year for benefits law, with three ERISA cases already on the US Supreme Court’s docket and a number of other high-profile lawsuits at the circuit court level that could attract the justices’ attention. While waiting on the high court’s ERISA decisions, lawyers are watching litigation trends develop...

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The Biggest ERISA Decisions of 2019


By on Jan 14, 2020
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Retirement Plans

In a relatively slow year for benefits rulings, multimillion-dollar settlements were the star of the show. And amid the slew of settlements this year, two court rulings stood out. McDermott’s Richard J. Pearl contributes to a Law360 article that breaks down the Ninth Circuit ruling allowing benefit plan managers to force fiduciary-breach suits into solo...

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Ninth Circuit Decides Not to Rehear Its Decision Requiring Arbitration of ERISA Claims


By and on Dec 19, 2019
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Employment, Retirement Plans

As we wrote in a previous On the Subject, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had signaled that it might rehear its August 2019 decisions in Dorman v. The Charles Schwab Corp., in which the Court compelled arbitration of ERISA class-action claims relating to a 401(k) plan. After ordering additional briefing, however, the Ninth Circuit denied the...

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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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Ninth Circuit Considers Rehearing in ERISA Arbitration Case


By and on Nov 5, 2019
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Retirement Plans

The Ninth Circuit signaled that it might rehear Dorman v. The Charles Schwab Corp., where earlier this year it held that a mandatory arbitration provision required arbitration of an ERISA fiduciary-breach claim. Access the full article.

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Federal District Court Dismisses Pension Actuarial-Equivalence Lawsuit


By and on Oct 17, 2019
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Retirement Plans

In the string of pension-plan related, actuarial equivalence lawsuits, the court in DeBuske, et al. v. PepsiCo, Inc., et al. recently handed down the first decision favorable to plan sponsors. The DeBuske court’s narrow decision may, however, have limited impact going forward. Access the full article.

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High Court Pension Row May Have Broad Impact


By on Oct 1, 2019
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Retirement Plans

A US Supreme Court case pitting pensioners against US Bank could have a wide-ranging impact on who can bring suit under ERISA, whether they participate in a defined benefit pension plan or a 401(k) plan. Recently, on Law360, McDermott’s Richard J. Pearl weighed in on the impact of Thole v. US Bank, one of three...

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Federal Court Certifies Class in Multiple-Plan ERISA Challenge to Health-Plan and Retirement-Plan Fees


By on Sep 10, 2019
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Fiduciary and Investment Issues, Health and Welfare Plans, Retirement Plans

A Texas federal court certified a class in case brought by participants in one plan, and allowed those participants to represent participants in unaffiliated plans. The claims alleged that the defendants, who marketed and provided services to all of the plans, breached fiduciary duties by imposing excessive fees. See Chavez, et al. v. Plan Benefits Services,...

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