dcsimg ERISA Litigation

ERISA Litigation

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) governs employee benefit plans of private employers. Businesses and plan fiduciaries must keep pace with emerging ERISA amendments, regulations and court cases, all of which can impose complex compliance obligations and increase the risk of liability for benefit claims, claims for breach of fiduciary duty, and high-stakes class action litigation.

McGuireWoods’ ERISA litigation practice combines extensive ERISA and executive compensation knowledge with a deep bench of experienced litigation, labor relations and trial lawyers. We understand the technical fields critical to success in benefits and executive compensation litigation, including ERISA, tax, corporate and securities regulations, and have extensive experience in class action litigation and large-scale electronic discovery.

Our ERISA litigation team is drawn from McGuireWoods’ employee benefits, labor and employment, corporate finance and commercial litigation groups. Our litigation capabilities are enhanced by our direct experience representing and negotiating with financial institutions, insurers and other key service providers.

Our strong labor relations team maintains an active practice focused on arbitration and litigation of collectively bargained benefits claims, including retiree health care, shutdown pensions, downsizing claims, controversies regarding multi-employer plan withdrawal liability and contributions, and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) charges relating to benefits.

We regularly handle executive compensation claims involving ERISA top hat plans, change in control agreements, and stock option and equity claims. We have successfully defended employers and insurers against Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges relating to benefits issues, including charges of alleged discrimination in benefit terms concerning the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

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Results 1-15 of 15

RESULTS DEPEND ON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. PRIOR RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR OUTCOME.

Representative Matter

Fortune 300 mutual life insurance company

Member of national litigation counsel panel for Fortune 300 mutual life insurance company's ERISA and individual disability policy lawsuits.
Representative Matter

North American food and beverage company

Obtained summary judgment for a North American food and beverage company in an alleged ERISA breach of fiduciary duty case in federal court.
Case Study

Finkl team wins ERISA anti-cutback case in 7th Circuit

McGuireWoods represented the pension plan of A. Finkl & Sons Company in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in a lawsuit claiming that the pension plan had violated ERISA's anti-cutback rule and the terms of the pension plan. The plaintiffs claimed that Finkl had an obligation to terminate the pension plan and provide annuities to the plaintiffs while the plaintiffs were still working for the company. The Court of Appeals, affirming the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, found that Finkl had no obligation to terminate the pension plan and that the plaintiffs' ERISA rights were not violated.

Representative Matter

Plan and plan fiduciaries

Summary judgment for plan and plan fiduciaries affirmed on appeal regarding anti-cutback and benefit claims by pension plan participants for immediate benefits based on alleged termination of pension plan.
Case Study

McGuireWoods' summary judgment victory for financial services client in wage and hour/ERISA class action

McGuireWoods' Labor and Employment Department in Los Angeles recently defended one of its financial services industry clients in a wage and hour/ERISA class action regarding several of its employee incentive compensation plans. The ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California granted summary judgment in favor of our client on all claims brought by three former financial advisors.

Representative Matter

American Benefits Council

Amicus Brief  filed on behalf of American Benefits Council in support of CitiGroup’s effective appeal of cash balance plan issues, involving application of ERISA §204(b) Anti-Backloading rules and ERISA §204(h) notice.  In reversing the District Court and ruling in favor of CitiGroup, Court of Appeals cited our brief favorably.
Representative Matter

Collectively Bargained Benefits and Multiemployer Plans

We regularly represent employers in arbitrations involving pension and benefit claims arising under collective bargaining agreements and employment agreements, including disputes over collectively bargained pensions, benefit calculations, “shutdown pensions,” and multiemployer plan withdrawal liability.
Representative Matter

Employer

Representation of client in litigation commenced by the U.S. Department of Labor, which alleged that our client had committed ERISA fiduciary violations and prohibited transactions based on its services in connection with an ESOP.
Representative Matter

Employer

Defend NLRB charge and handle litigation over scope of the duty to bargain with union over benefits issues, including whether benefit claims are covered within the grievance/arbitration clause of the collective bargaining agreement or restricted under the ERISA claims procedures of the ERISA benefit plan.
Representative Matter

Global paper and packaging company

Obtained judgment for the employer on the administrative record on grounds that the plan administrator properly denied claim for early retirement benefits. Court also rejected plaintiff’s estoppel and reliance arguments.
Representative Matter

Global science company

Judgment for employer and plan on ERISA claims for life insurance benefits, breach of fiduciary duty, and estoppel. Skiles v. E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., No. 1:03-CV-239, (E.D.Tenn. Jan. 25, 2005)
Representative Matter

Large employer

Representation of a large employer in a severance dispute with an executive pursuant to a written contract. We won the case by convincing the arbitrator to apply appropriate ERISA principles to his review of the company's determination of the claim.
Representative Matter

Large European based electronic and electrical engineering company

Summary judgment for employer and retirement plan on ERISA claims for permanent job separation special pensions (“PJS benefits) and claims that adoption of pension plans that lacked PJS benefits did not violate the ERISA anti-cutback rule, 29 U.S.C.S. § 1054(g).
Representative Matter

Plan administrator

Obtained summary judgment for plan administrator in court’s ruling that the administrator did not abuse its discretion in determining that the plaintiff had a pre-existing condition rendering him ineligible for long-term disability benefits.
Representative Matter

Various Companies

We have represented several companies in contested matters with the PBGC in federal district court, in bankruptcy court, and before the PBGC Appeals Board, challenging claims for unfunded benefit liabilities, claims for “cessation of operations” liability under ERISA 4062(e), and other matters.
Results 1-15 of 15
Results 1-25 of 30
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Brian D Barger Brian D. Barger
Partner
201 North Tryon Street
Suite 3000
Charlotte, NC 28202-2146

T: +1 704 343 2072
F: +1 704 343 2300
vCard
Sarah A Belger Sarah A. Belger
Partner
1750 Tysons Boulevard
Suite 1800
Tysons Corner, VA 22102-4215

T: +1 703 712 5350
F: +1 703 712 5299
vCard
Craig D Bell Craig D. Bell
Partner
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 1179
F: +1 804 698 2160
vCard
Jonathan T Blank Jonathan T. Blank
Partner
Court Square Building
310 Fourth Street, N.E.
Suite 300
Charlottesville, VA 22902-1288

T: +1 434 977 2509
F: +1 434 980 2258
vCard
Thomas R Brice Thomas R. Brice
Partner
Bank of America Tower
50 North Laura Street
Suite 3300
Jacksonville, FL 32202-3661

T: +1 904 798 2629
F: +1 904 360 6335
vCard
Richard J Cromwell Richard J. Cromwell
Partner
World Trade Center
101 West Main Street
Suite 9000
Norfolk, VA 23510-1655

T: +1 757 640 3775
F: +1 757 640 3955
vCard
Michael J DiMattia Michael J. DiMattia
Partner
1345 Avenue of the Americas
7th Floor
New York, NY 10105-0106

T: +1 212 548 7009
F: +1 212 715 2312
vCard
Susan Pyle Dion Susan Pyle Dion
Partner
201 North Tryon Street
Suite 3000
Charlotte, NC 28202-2146

T: +1 704 373 8951
F: +1 704 353 6162
vCard
Elizabeth Edwards Elizabeth F. Edwards
Partner
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 4390
F: +1 804 698 2045
vCard
Ronald G Franklin Ronald G. Franklin
Partner
JPMorgan Chase Tower
600 Travis Street
Suite 7500
Houston, TX 77002-2906

T: +1 832 214 9942
F: +1 713 571 9652
vCard
Philip A Goldstein Philip A. Goldstein
Counsel
1345 Avenue of the Americas
7th Floor
New York, NY 10105-0106

T: +1 212 548 2167
F: +1 212 548 2150
vCard
Robert F Holland Robert F. Holland
Counsel
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 4718
F: +1 804 225 5412
vCard
Halima Horton Halima Horton
Partner
Promenade
1230 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Suite 2100
Atlanta, GA 30309-3534

T: +1 404 443 5715
F: +1 404 443 5765
vCard
Matthew C Kane Matthew C. Kane
Partner
1800 Century Park East
8th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90067-1501

T: +1 310 315 8295
F: +1 310 956 3195
vCard
Elena D Marcuss Elena D. Marcuss
Partner
7 Saint Paul Street
Suite 1000
Baltimore, MD 21202-1671

T: +1 410 659 4454
F: +1 410 659 4547
vCard
John G McDonald John G. McDonald
Partner
201 North Tryon Street
Suite 3000
Charlotte, NC 28202-2146

1345 Avenue of the Americas
7th Floor
New York, NY 10105-0106

T: +1 704 343 2276
F: +1 704 444 8753
vCard

T:+1 212 548 2176
F: +1 704 444 8753

James P McElligott Jr. James P. McElligott Jr.
Partner
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 4329
F: +1 804 698 2111
vCard
Robert W McFarland Robert W. McFarland
Partner
World Trade Center
101 West Main Street
Suite 9000
Norfolk, VA 23510-1655

T: +1 757 640 3716
F: +1 757 640 3966
vCard
Amy Miller Amy Miller
Partner
2001 K Street N.W.
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006-1040

1750 Tysons Boulevard
Suite 1800
Tysons Corner, VA 22102-4215

T: +1 202 857 1732
F: +1 202 828 2963
vCard

T:+1 703 712 5079
F: +1 703 712 5193

James F Neale James F. Neale
Partner
Court Square Building
310 Fourth Street, N.E.
Suite 300
Charlottesville, VA 22902-1288

T: +1 434 977 2582
F: +1 434 980 2263
vCard
Jacks C Nickens Jacks C. Nickens
Partner
JPMorgan Chase Tower
600 Travis Street
Suite 7500
Houston, TX 77002-2906

T: +1 713 353 6668
F: +1 832 214 9931
vCard
Brian G Patterson Brian G. Patterson
Associate
JPMorgan Chase Tower
600 Travis Street
Suite 7500
Houston, TX 77002-2906

T: +1 832 214 9944
F: +1 832 214 9921
vCard
Michael R Phillips Michael R. Phillips
Partner
77 West Wacker Drive
Suite 4100
Chicago, IL 60601-1818

T: +1 312 750 8902
F: +1 312 920 6181
vCard
David J Pivnick David J. Pivnick
Associate
77 West Wacker Drive
Suite 4100
Chicago, IL 60601-1818

T: +1 312 750 3585
F: +1 312 698 4539
vCard
Bradley A Ridlehoover Bradley A. Ridlehoover
Associate
One James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030

T: +1 804 775 4312
F: +1 804 698 2171
vCard
Results 1-6 of 6
Speaking Engagement

Mass Withdrawal: A Looming Liability for Employers

Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Bloomberg BNA Webinar
Speaking Engagement

6th National ERISA Litigation Conference

October 24-25, 2013
Speaking Engagement

ERISA Counsel's Communications with Plan Fiduciaries and Attorney-Client Privilege

Navigating Inconsistent Court Treatment and Protecting Counsel Advice to Plan Participants

April 3, 2013
Strafford Webinar
Speaking Engagement

5th National Forum on Defending and Managing ERISA Litigation

Cigna v. Amara Revisited: The Ongoing Fallout From this Landmark Case and Its Progeny

January 22 - 23, 2013
New York, NY
Speaking Engagement

Fifth Annual Forum on ERISA Litigation

Supreme Court's Decision on Cigna v. Amara

October 29, 2012
New York, NY
Results 1-6 of 6