Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
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When Are Cryptocurrencies Appropriate Investments for Retirement Plans and IRAs?

The US Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued guidance for the first time on the investment of retirement plan assets in cryptocurrencies. Compliance Assistance Release No. 2022-01 cautions 401(k) plan fiduciaries to “exercise extreme care” before allowing participants to invest plan assets in cryptocurrencies because cryptocurrencies “present significant risks and challenges to participants’ retirement accounts, including significant risks of fraud, theft, and loss.” In this Intellectual Property & Technology Law Journal article, McDermott Partners Andrea S. Kramer and Brian J. Tiemann outline what retirement plan fiduciaries need to know about cryptocurrency investments in the current market.

Access the article.




ERISA Litigation: What Have We Learned?

Earlier this spring, McDermott Partner Erin Turley delivered a presentation about the impacts of recent Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) litigation. Lawsuits now target both large and small employee benefit plans; plan sponsors are being sued and dragged into complex and lengthy litigation, thus changing the basic economics of the provision of fiduciary liability insurance. In response to these lawsuits, plan sponsors are looking to outsource as much of this fiduciary responsibility and potential liability and exposure as possible.

Access the presentation slides.




ERIC Petitions US Supreme Court on Seattle Healthcare Case

McDermott Will & Emery’s Michael B. Kimberly, Sarah P. Hogarth and Andrew C. Liazos, are co-counsel on a petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC). The petition calls for review of ERIC’s legal challenge to the City of Seattle’s hotel healthcare “play or pay” ordinance. The ordinance mandates hospitality employers make specified monthly healthcare expenditures for their covered local employees if their healthcare plans do not meet certain requirements. The petition demonstrates that Seattle’s ordinance is a clear attempt to control the benefits provided under medical plans in violation of the preemption provision under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA). This case is of significant national importance. Several other cities have proposed making similar changes, and complying with these types of ordinances will substantially constrain the ability of employers to control the terms of their medical plans on a uniform basis. ERIC’s petition is joined by several trade associations, including the US Chamber of Commerce, the American Benefits Council and the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

Read ERIC’s petition for writ of certiorari here.

Read ERIC’s statement here.




ERIC Files Amicus Brief Rebutting DOL Attempt to Create New Regulations in Lawsuit

McDermott Will & Emery’s Andrew C. Liazos, Michael B. Kimberly and Charlie Seidell recently filed an amicus brief in the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit on behalf of the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC). McDermott filed the brief in response to a US Department of Labor (DOL) amicus brief that advanced a novel interpretation of its regulations which, if adopted through litigation, would change longstanding procedures for benefit determinations under self-funded medical plans sponsored by large employers. The amicus brief focuses on key arguments against the DOL’s attempted regulatory reinterpretation, including that:

  • DOL may not rewrite its regulations outside of notice-and-comment rulemaking;
  • DOL’s interpretation of its own regulations is inconsistent with the plain text of the regulations;
  • There are good policy reasons underlying differential treatment of healthcare and disability benefits determinations; and
  • DOL’s interpretation of the regulations in its amicus brief is not entitled to deference under the Supreme Court decision in Kisor.

Read ERIC’s amicus brief here.

Read ERIC’s statement here.




Internal Trustee Fiduciary Liability

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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