With the uncertainty of the general election just one year away—and change on the horizon—now is the time to take stock of the legal and regulatory environment to prepare your organization for the future.

On September 10 in Boston, the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), Fidelity and McDermott invite you to join your peers and colleagues for breakfast and an interactive discussion at 8 am EDT around hot topics in benefits and compensation. Areas of focus will include:

  • Congressional action on healthcare—from Rx costs to surprise billing
  • Direct contracting for health plans
  • Federal and state paid leave
  • Lasting impacts of tax reform
  • New leveraged ESPP funding alternative
  • Student loan repayment plans
  • The SECURE Act and what comes next

Register for the event.

The federal court affirmed ERISA’s limitations on the types of claims and remedies available under ERISA. This well-reasoned decision affords Congress the deference it deserves by limiting claims and remedies only to those Congress intended to provide in ERISA.

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The 2019 ESOP National Conference, an annual gathering for employee owners from all levels, association volunteer leaders and expert professionals, took place May 22–24. Two McDermott partners, Theodore (Ted) M. Becker and Erin Turley, presented three sessions during the conference, the slides of which are available for download on the conference website. See descriptions of the presentations below: Continue Reading On Top of ESOP Developments: Insights from the 42nd ESOP National Conference

A new IRS notice will allow many with chronic health conditions who participate in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) with health savings accounts (HSAs) to receive necessary care that may otherwise be out of financial reach. The notice expands the list of preventive care benefits that can be covered by an HDHP prior to a participant meeting the minimum deductible without disqualifying them from making or receiving HSA contributions.

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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 this term—could have significant implications for plan sponsors and plan fiduciaries. Many believe that if the Supreme Court rules that the plaintiffs have standing to bring suit, it could encourage a proliferation of litigation against plans where there is no actual impact on participants’ benefits.

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Executives are no longer reluctant to lawyer up. News reports on executive/employer contretemps at Papa John’s, Barnes & Noble, Uber and other companies have drawn press attention in the past year; countless other executive/employer disputes have flown below radar.

Underlying these controversies is the executive’s employment agreement, typically the most high-stakes and closely negotiated employment agreements to which companies will contract. Yet, these agreements often contain less clarity and less certainty than either executives or their employers need. Indeed, there appear to be three areas where these contracts could and should be upgraded. Let’s look at each.

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Originally published by Law360, February 2019.

There are three focal points in every successorship case: (1) notice to the purchaser; (2) continuity of the business; and (3) the ability of the seller to provide relief.

Reading the tripartite test for successor liability, it is enticing to conclude that a deal is safe. This is what the Greeks called hubris. Remember Oedipus, who also thought he could escape the prophecy of his fate? Even when it appears one of those factors ought to result in a buyer escaping successorship liability, any reading of those factors needs to be grounded in the case law because it sweeps more than a literal reading of those tripartite factors might suggest.

Even a quick look at the case law reveals the magnitude of the doctrine’s scope.

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Originally published by Law360, July 2019.

In 2018, the Treasury Department and the IRS issued new hardship distribution rules applicable to defined contribution plans, and many plans have begun administering these new rules. While plan sponsors may want to wait for further IRS guidance before amending their plans, they should take steps now to inform employees of changes in hardship distribution administration.

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The US Supreme Court declined to review a recent Ninth Circuit decision, blocking the interim rules that exempted employers with religious or moral objections from providing birth control coverage required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Until such time as this issue is clarified, it is prudent for employers with employees in certain states to comply with the ACA mandate and to cover contraceptives under their health plans.

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Teal Trujillo, a summer associate in our Chicago office, also contributed to this article.