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The Biggest ERISA Decisions of 2019

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 arbitration and the Tenth Circuit holding that insurers who determine workers’ profits from 401(k) investments aren’t fiduciaries. Access the full article. Originally published by Law360, December 2019

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Dynamex: Stricter Definition of Independent Contractors Brings New Challenges for California Employers

Ron Holland, Ellen Bronchetti and Kevin Connelly presented on challenges California employers face in light of a stricter definition for independent contractors. They discuss the Dynamex presumption which places the burden on the hiring entity to establish that the worker is an independent contractor who was not intended to be included within the wage order’s coverage. View the full presentation.

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Fridays with Benefits Webinar | Mental Health Parity and Compliance Complexities

New proposed guidance on mental health parity issued last month spotlights the complexities of these rules. Join us for out next Fridays with Benefits webinar on June 1 as Jacob M. Mattinson and Judith Wethall discuss the impact these rules will have on group health plans and how to determine if your plan complies. Find out about recent litigation and agency enforcement actions. Friday, June 1st, 2018 10:00 – 10:45 am PDT 11:00 – 11:45 am MDT 12:00 – 12:45 pm CDT 1:00 – 1:45 pm EDT Register now.  

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Webinar | Benefits Litigation – An Ounce of Prevention

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 plans from being targeted. Friday, May 4, 2018 10:00 – 10:45 am PDT 11:00 – 11:45 am MDT 12:00 – 12:45 pm CDT 1:00 – 1:45 pm EDT Register now.

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403(b) University Cases Move Forward: Cassell v. Vanderbilt University

A lawsuit against Vanderbilt University is moving forward based on allegations that the university and its fiduciaries mismanaged its retirement plan by paying excessive fees and maintaining poor investment options. In that lawsuit, Cassell v. Vanderbilt et al., plaintiffs filed a 160-page complaint alleging multiple violations of ERISA. Cassell v. Vanderbilt, No. 3:16-cv-02086 (M.D. Tenn. Jan. 5, 2018). Cassell is one of numerous class action lawsuits that have been filed against prominent universities based on similar allegations. The lawsuits allege that Internal Revenue Code Section 403(b) plan fiduciaries breached duties of prudence and loyalty, and engaged in prohibited transactions. Vanderbilt University, like other schools, filed a motion to dismiss the claims. The court granted part of its motion, but allowed the rest of the lawsuit to proceed. In its opinion, the court outright rejected the breach of loyalty claims, explaining that they simply...

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401(k) Lawsuits on the Rise: Best Practices for Plan Fiduciaries

At the 36th Annual ISCEBS Symposium, Todd Solomon presented best practices for plan fiduciaries to avoid 401(k) plan and 403(b) plan class action lawsuits. Todd discussed fiduciary responsibilities under ERISA as well as potential consequences of breaching fiduciary responsibilities. He highlighted notable cases brought against plan fiduciaries, including those that allege excess plan fees. Todd discussed the need for rigorous monitoring and documentation of the review process. View the full presentation.

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