ERISA litigation in United States

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is highly regarded in the market, with its attorneys noted as 'extremely knowledgeable about ERISA, and also able to implement creative legal strategies that achieve excellent results'. Its team has recently moved into the employee plan space and expanded its work in the energy sector. Its clients include Boeing, adidas and the New York City Department of Education, and it draws on the experience of several seasoned trial lawyers, granting first-hand experience of contentious processes. It has streamlined efficiency by developing the Virtual Whiteboard, which allows employees to track and review progress virtually, and ClientSite, which provides analytics about client needs. The practice is led by Jeremy Blumenfeld and Brian Ortelere in Philadelphia, and Christopher Boran and Deborah Davidson in Chicago, supported by Melissa Hill in New York.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Blumenfeld; Christopher Boran; Deborah Davidson; Brian Ortelere

Other key lawyers:

Melissa Hill; Samuel Block

Testimonials

‘Morgan Lewis’s ERISA litigation team is the best in the business. Their attorneys are extremely knowledgeable about ERISA, and also able to implement creative legal strategies that achieve excellent results, and counsel clients through ERISA matters. Incredibly, they make ERISA both interesting and fun, academically speaking.’

‘The partners are experts in their fields, but also provide very practical advice to clients. Importantly, the partners are also great mentors, as Morgan Lewis’s associates are well trained and quite knowledgeable about ERISA themselves. Brian Ortelere, Jeremy Blumenfeld, Debbie Davidson, and Missy Hill lead by example, continually sharing their wisdom and experience while meaningfully involving associates in ERISA matters.’

‘I’ve been thoroughly impressed by everyone on the MLB ERISA team. They are everything you’d want in outside litigation counsel, particularly in this highly technical area of law – knowledgeable, pragmatic, responsive, and easy to work with. The use of technology to facilitate virtual depositions has made the process seamless and cost-effective. And they have a very nice touch when prepping prickly corporate executives!’

‘Chris Boran and Samuel Block have taken the laboring oar on our matter. Both keep us as the client well-informed and engaged, such that the litigation is very much a team effort among client and counsel. I trust their judgement and their insights tremendously.’

Key clients

Cigna Corporation

Boeing

University of Miami

US Bank

Honeywell

Washington University in St. Louis

adidas

State of Hawaii

New York State Teamsters Conference Pension & Retirement Fund

New York City Department of Education

Work highlights

  • Represented Cigna and achieved denial of plaintiff’s motion for class certification in its entirety for a class action alleging violations of ERISA and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and claims for millions of dollars in damages.
  • Represented Oshkosh Corp in a ERISA 401(k) “excessive fees” class action.
  • Represented Boeing and its Employee Benefit Plans Committee, its Employee Benefit Investment Committee, and Boeing executives in an ERISA 401(k) employer “stock-drop” class action.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP

O’Melveny & Myers LLP fields a sizeable team of litigators and represents clients in high-stakes ERISA litigation. The team is a regular counsel to corporations, financial institutions and plan sponsors on legal developments related to ERISA and other regulatory requirements involving the management of retirement plans. The firm developed its own set of software to optimize the efficiency of the litigation process, and its editorial team also works collectively to contribute to the writing of legal arguments. The litigation team is led by Washington DC-based partner Meaghan VerGow and Gregory Jacob, who brings public sector experience working in government departments, and is supported by Brian Boyle, who works with financial services providers, and Shannon Barrett, with a focus on fiduciary duties. The Los Angeles office includes Catalina Vergara, who works on fiduciary breach litigation.

Practice head(s):

Meaghan VerGow; Greg Jacob

Other key lawyers:

Brian Boyle; Shannon Barrett; Catalina Vergara; Stuart Sarnoff; Deanna Rice; William Pollak

Testimonials

‘We’ve retained O’Melveny for class action ERISA litigation in several cases. We’ve seen every aspect of how the team handles cases, including trials. The team is as knowledgeable about ERISA, and the strategic choices involved in defending this type of litigation, as any firm in the country.’

‘Brian Boyle handles witnesses efficiently and intelligently at trial. We’ve also seen partners Shannon Barrett and Stuart Sarnoff in action, as well as associates Deanna Rice and William Pollak.’

Key clients

Aetna/CVS

American Airlines

Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting

BlackRock

Fidelity Management Trust Company

Humana

Morgan Stanley

Transamerica

Franklin Resources

T. Rowe Price

UnitedHealth Group

Work highlights

  • Represented American Airlines (formerly US Airways Group) in an ERISA-related complaint filed in the Northern District of Texas.
  • Represented BlackRock in the certification of a massive class consisting of the participants in all retirement plans whose fiduciaries elected to invest in funds managed by the client.
  • Represented T. Rowe Price in a class action lawsuit filed in the District of Maryland, in which the plaintiffs alleged that defendants breached ERISA fiduciary duties.

Proskauer Rose LLP

Proskauer Rose LLP is nationally renowned for its employee benefits and executive compensation offering, spread across six offices in the US, of which its ERISA litigation team is a key component. This team has experience in litigating employee benefits issues that its clients face, and has prevailed in many landmark decisions. The team has been sought out to write amicus briefs on key issues before the Supreme Court and Appellate Courts. Acting as full-service ERISA counsel to an extensive client list, its lawyers are also sought out specifically to handle high-stakes ERISA litigation by new clients. The firm is led by New York-based partners Myron Rumeld and Russell Hirschhorn.

Testimonials

‘I work primarily with 2 attorneys, both of whom are excellent. They are smart, personable, practical, business-focused and are good at setting realistic expectations. They have done a very good job of setting strategy on the case.’

Key clients

Wells Fargo & Company

RELX Inc.

Neuberger Berman Group LLC

Transervice Logistics Inc.

Zenith Logistics, Inc.

American Federation of Musicians and Employers’ Pension Fund

Barnabas Health, Inc

MetLife

Xerox Corporation

Intel Corporation

Employer Trustees of the Division 1181 Amalgamated Transit Union

Building Services 32BJ Pension Fund

SAG-AFTRA

DTE Energy Co

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP represents employers across a broad range of industries, including insurance, financial services and education, in both individual and class action lawsuits relating to employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) disputes, Department of Labor investigations and plan fee issues, among others. The firm enjoyed notable success in its representation of Northwestern University in its high-profile case relating to workers' retirement savings. The practice benefits from integrated expertise in transactional benefits, broad labor law and securities litigation, allowing it to handle a broad range of cases. The Chicago-based team is led by Craig Martin, an experienced trial lawyer, alongside Amanda Amert, a specialist in ERISA litigation who represents employers and plan providers at the trial and appellate level. Matt Basil represents Fortune 500 companies in fiduciary duty and contracts disputes.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Amert; Craig Martin

Other key lawyers:

Matt Basil; Matthew Thomas

Testimonials

‘Craig Martin, Amanda Amert and their team were exceptional every step of the way. ERISA is a very complex area of law and we feel fortunate to have a close and symbiotic working relationship with Craig and Amanda, who we will surely call upon as and when other ERISA cases materialize.’

‘Craig and Amanda are a powerful one two punch. I would trust them with any form of ERISA litigation. When Craig and Amanda are on our team, we know we will get the best possible support in the market. Their extensive commercial knowledge is a real differentiator.’

‘Excellent technical attorneys, very practical and very responsive.’

‘Craig Martin and Matt Basil are stars. They know the law and are incredibly responsive.’

‘It’s a specialized area that requires knowledge and experience that you can’t glean from reading cases or articles. They know things because they’ve seen things and that’s what you get when you hire them – real, actual, firsthand experience with comparable situations and all the big players.’

‘Craig Martin is a fantastic strategist. He and his team come up with highly creative solutions. They are skilled at looking at an issue from all angles, and this produces the best approaches. Craig in particular is also well networked, which can be of significant value. He is also very good presenting to Boards. He engenders trust.’

Key clients

Northwestern University

Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting, Inc.

Alight Financial Advisors, LLC

Alight Solutions LLC

CenturyLink, Inc.

Former Directors and Officers of Appvion Corporation

Olin Corporation

Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb, Inc.

MetLife Group Inc.

Work highlights

  • Represented Northwestern University in a federal case which concluded that the plaintiffs’ claims did not assert plausible ERISA violations and rejected the plaintiffs’ demand for a jury trial; and currently defending the decision in the Supreme Court.
  • Represented CenturyLink in a breach of fiduciary duty putative class action challenging the company’s use and management of active multi-manager funds as investment options in its 401(k) plan, successfully dismissing the complaint.
  • Representing Aon Corporation in a variety of fiduciary cases, including a putative class action alleging fiduciary breaches, in connection with investment advisory service and ERISA prohibited transactions.

Goodwin

Goodwin continues to demonstrate its expertise through work with clients such as the New York Life Insurance Company and Natixis Investment Managers. The firm pursues a client partnership model, working in close collaboration with clients across contentious proceedings and broader strategy. The firm includes Boston-based practice head James Fleckner and Alison Douglass, as well as Boston-based partner Dave Rosenberg and Washington DC-based partners Matthew Riffee and DeMario Carswell.

Practice head(s):

James Fleckner

Other key lawyers:

Alison Douglass; Dave Rosenberg; Matthew Riffee; DeMario Carswell

Testimonials

‘Goodwin gets immersed in the case facts sufficiently early to make sure that they have time to present the best possible defense for their clients.’

‘Goodwin’s ERISA litigation team possesses tremendous capabilities in many different areas including knowledge of the law, legal strategy, and knowledge of the expert issues. They are exceptional at determining what points to prioritize and how to adapt to different forums.’

‘James Fleckner is among the top ERISA litigators in the country. Defendants seek him out to represent them in their most important ERISA litigation. He is a creative and adept litigator, quick on his feet, and excellent in the courtroom.’

‘Alison Douglass is also an excellent litigator. She excels in making clear, persuasive arguments and in explaining complex subjects in an easy-to-understand manner.’

Key clients

John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.)

IQVIA

FirstGroup America, Inc.

Natixis Investment Managers, LLC

Newport Trust Company

Stadion Money Management

BTG International

State Street Bank and Trust Company

MFS Investment Management

New York Life Insurance Company

Work highlights

  • Represented Stadion Money Management in a putative class action pending in the District of Nebraska, and successfully opposed the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification, with the court declining to certify any class.
  • Represented New York Life Insurance Company in a putative class action pending in the Southern District of New York.
  • Represented John Hancock Life Insurance Company (USA) in a putative class action pending in the Southern District of Florida.

Groom Law Group, Chartered

Groom Law Group, Chartered's work ranges from claims disputes and federal agency investigations to complex class action and multi-district litigation involving plan sponsors. Its Washington DC-based team is led by Lars Golumbic, who has notable experience in class actions, defending clients in Department of Labor investigations and enforcement matters. Michael Prame focuses on benefit plan fiduciaries, as well as other service providers and plan sponsors, and Mark Nielsen defends plan trustees and sponsors in federal court against claims surrounding prohibited transactions; in particular, he has successfully defended employers against claims arising under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Sarah Adams acted as lead partner on a successful eight-year case, representing the Supplemental Benefit Committee of the Navistar International Transport Corp.

Practice head(s):

Lars Golumbic

Other key lawyers:

Michael Prame; Mark Nielsen; Sarah Adams

Key clients

American National Red Cross

B. Braun Medical Inc.

Costco Wholesale Corporation

FCA US, LLC

Kinder Morgan, Inc.

Northern Trust Company

Pentegra Retirement Services

Prudent Fiduciary Services, LLC

Royal Caribbean Cruises

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc.

Sequoia Benefits and Insurance Services LLC

Aetna Life Insurance Co.

Alerus Financial

Argent Trust Company

Ascensus, LLC

Bankers Trust Company

Bert Bell / Pete Rozell NFL Players Retirement Plan

CommonSpirit Health

Edelman Financial Engines

Horizon Trust & Investment Management

Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc.

Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

McBride & Son Capital, Inc.

Principal Financial Group

Saint Luke’s Health System, Inc.

The Segal Company

Stout Risius Ross, LLC

Supplemental Benefit Committee of the Navistar International Transportation Corp. Retiree Supplemental Benefit Program

Wilmington Trust, NA

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown is distinguished by its successful cases representing key clients across the film, aerospace and education sectors, among others. Its precedent-setting victory with the Shell Oil Company, in which a federal court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claim that the company had breached its fiduciary duties, demonstrates its expertise in high-profile proceedings. The team has been hired to defend seven universities in related cases. Its team is led by Chicago-based partner Nancy Ross, who has achieved many successes in high-stakes litigation, and Richard Nowak, who focuses on ERISA disputes. Samuel Myler has made a name for himself as a rising star in benefits claims class actions and stock-drop cases. Brian Netter departed the firm to join the US Department of Justice.

Practice head(s):

Nancy Ross; Richard Nowak

Other key lawyers:

Samuel Myler

Testimonials

The firm has a first rate ERISA team.’

Nancy Ross is a premier ERISA lawyer.’

‘Richard Nowak was extremely attentive and highly skillful in this long process.’

‘Expertise in the subject matter and depth of team assigned to work on our case.’

Richard Nowak provided excellent advice.’

Key clients

Motion Picture Industry Pension Plans

Northrop Grumman Corporation

Cornell University

Yale University

AT&T Inc., AT&T Services, Inc.

National Production Workers Union

Envestnet Asset Management

Shell Oil Company

Tenneco Inc., Tenneco Automatic Operating Company, Inc.

Froedtert Health

Prevea Clinic

Nestlé U.S.A.

Duke Energy Corporation

Caesars Entertainment

John Wood Group

Cushman & Wakefield

Work highlights

  • Secured an important victory for Northrop Grumman Corporation and pension plan sponsors nationwide in a case in which the Ninth Circuit unanimously ruled that Northrop did not breach its fiduciary duties when its third-party recordkeeper miscalculated and overestimated the named plaintiffs’ pension benefits.
  • Obtained summary judgment on all counts for AT&T in a highly publicized class action challenging the administration of its 401(k) plan with more than 240,000 participants and $34bn in assets.
  • Obtained a precedential victory for Shell Oil Company when a federal court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claim that the company had breached its fiduciary duties and engaged in a prohibited transaction by allowing its 401(k) plan third-party recordkeeper to use participants’ confidential information to market financial products.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP's growing practice focuses on high-profile and precedent-setting cases, and the firm can regularly be found acting for major companies operating in the banking, insurance and food sectors, among others. The practice is led by four partners: Theodore Wells, who works with spin-off transactions; Jessica Carey, who defended DST Systems, Inc. in a novel matter concerning alleged breaches of fiduciary duty; Kenneth Gallo and Brad Karp. Seasoned litigator Lewis Clayton is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Brad Karp; Jessica Carey; Kenneth Gallo; Theodore Wells

Other key lawyers:

Lewis Clayton

Key clients

Carrier Global

DST Systems, Inc. (SS&C Technologies, Inc.)

The Kraft Heinz Company

Work highlights

  • Represented Carrier Global Corporation in a class action against Raytheon Technologies Corporation (RTX), Otis Worldwide Corporation (Otis), and Carrier for allegedly mistreating participants in certain United Technologies Corporation ERISA and non-ERISA compensation plans after UTC spun off Carrier and Otis into separate public companies and merged with RTX.
  • Represented DST Systems, Inc., a subsidiary of SS&C Technologies, in a novel matter involving a certified action and individual actions filed in the Southern District of New York by current and former DST employees.
  • Represented and achieved a significant victory as lead counsel for certain current and former trustees of The Kraft Heinz Company’s savings plan and Kraft Heinz officers when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted their motion to dismiss a putative ERISA class action.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Seyfarth Shaw LLP leverages the expertise of its benefits and compensation team, with extensive employee benefit plan design and compliance experience. Sam Schwartz-Fenwick regularly advises clients in emerging employment/employee benefit best practices related to the rapidly changing legal and cultural landscape surrounding the LGBT community, including transgender insurance benefit coverage, and, on the contentious side, also has experience in claims involving transgender and LGBTQ employee-benefits discrimination. The team is led by San Francisco–based partner Kathleen Cahill Slaught, who counsels clients on the ERISA litigation risks associated with offering benefits to their evolving employee work force, and Chicago-based partner Ian Morrison.

Practice head(s):

Kathleen Cahill Slaught; Ian Morrison

Other key lawyers:

Sam Schwarz-Fenwick

Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Steptoe & Johnson LLP has a strong record in ERISA litigation, having been involved in landmark rulings in the space. The team is led by Washington DC-based partner Paul Ondrasik, who has served as lead counsel in numerous ERISA class actions and individual cases throughout the US involving employer stock, 401(k) plan fees and other plan investment matters, fiduciary responsibility and corporate transactions. He is supported by Eric Serron, who regularly provides advice and counsel to clients regarding their obligations under Title I of ERISA, including compliance with ERISA’s fiduciary responsibility provisions and prohibited transaction rules. Sara Pikofsky left the firm in April 2022.

Practice head(s):

Paul Ondrasik

Other key lawyers:

Eric Serron

Key clients

Express Scripts

Allina Health System

Republic Services

Macy’s

Teamsters Joint Council No 83 of Virginia Pension

United Mine Workers of America Health and Retirement Funds

Salesforce

Trust Management Services

Eversource

ISCO

Employee Administration Board of Kraft Heinz

Meketa Investment Group, Inc

New England Biolabs

Work highlights

  • Representing alleged fiduciaries of Salesforce 401(k) plan in a putative class action alleging that defendants violated their ERISA fiduciary duties in maintaining various plan investment options that allegedly charged excessive fees.
  • Representing Eversource Energy and the alleged fiduciaries of the company’s 401(k) Plan in a consolidated putative ERISA class action filed in the US District Court for the District of Connecticut.
  • Representing ISCO in a putative ERISA class action filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Kentucky brought by participants in a former Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

Baker Botts L.L.P.

Baker Botts L.L.P. acts for well-known clients in the entertainment, oil and natural resources, and healthcare industries. It is notable for having a team of seasoned trial lawyers with experience in ERISA litigation as well as employee benefits and executive compensation matters. Highlights for the team include its representation of the Investment Committee of the Phillips 66 Savings Plan and its Plan Financial Administrator in ERISA litigation which has advanced to the Supreme Court. Houston-based partner Travis Sales leads the team of trial lawyers, which includes Earl Austin in New York, who particularly focuses on life sciences and healthcare-sector companies, and Christopher Rillo in San Francisco, who takes on matters in the entertainment and financial services industries.

Practice head(s):

Travis Sales

Other key lawyers:

Earl Austin; Christopher Rillo

Key clients

Aetna Inc.

Aetna Health, Inc.

Aetna Life Insurance Co.

ConocoPhillips Company

ExxonMobil Corporation

Halliburton

Houston Municipal Employees Pension System

IBEW-NECA Southwestern Health & Benefit Fund

Netflix Corporation

Oceaneering International

Patterson-UTI Energy (Formerly Seventy Seven Energy Inc.)

Phillips 66

Principal Financial Services, Inc.

Schlumberger Limited

Work highlights

  • Defending Netflix in an ERISA matter that is seeking to disqualify Netflix’s high deductible welfare plan.
  • Represents defendants Investment Committee of the Phillips 66 Savings Plan (Plan) and its Plan Financial Administrator in an ERISA case before the Supreme Court.
  • Defending Aetna in two ERISA class actions in which the plaintiff alleges that Aetna improperly refuses to provide coverage for and/or penalizes the use of brand-name medications when a generic alternative is available.

Jackson Lewis P.C.

Jackson Lewis P.C. focuses on the defense of ERISA class action litigation nationwide, with a growing focus on defending single-plaintiff ERISA matters. The firm handles 401(k) litigation, COBRA class actions, and mental health and healthcare-related cases, among others. The firm is led by New Orleans-based partners Howard Shapiro and René E. Thorne, with key support from Charles F. Seemann and Stacey C.S. Cerrone.

Practice head(s):

Howard Shapiro; René Thorne

Other key lawyers:

Charles F. Seemann; Stacey C.S. Cerrone

Testimonials

‘Excellent industry expertise and experience in the ERISA field; very high level of responsiveness and client service.’

Key clients

MGM Resorts International

Charles Schwab

Sutter Health

Evonik

MidAmerican Energy Company

University of Tampa

Juniper Networks, Inc.

Pfizer Inc.

Estée Lauder

Biogen

Work highlights

  • Representing seven individual and institutional defendants in a breach of fiduciary duty class action filed in Chicago.
  • Representing a contactor in a class action suit alleging that the client failed to comply with notice requirements relating to continuation of medical coverage under COBRA.

Jenner & Block LLP

Jenner & Block LLP's team combines it extensive knowledge and trial skills with vast experience in ERISA cases. Its clients include State Farm, CONSOL Energy and Abbott Laboratories, among others. In a significant recent case, the firm secured the overturning of a $16m arbitration award against its client PSF Industries. Elsewhere, a team led by Chicago-based practice head Joseph Torres won summary judgment for client PPG Industries, Inc. after nearly three years of litigation.

Practice head(s):

Joseph Torres

Other key lawyers:

Alexis Bates

Key clients

PPG Industries, Inc.

PSF Industries, Inc.

Signode Industrial Group

CONSOL Energy Inc.

State Farm

WillCo Green

Abbott Laboratories

Work highlights

  • Represented PPG Industries in obtaining dismissal of a putative class action alleging fiduciary breaches, interference with benefits, failure to fund a pension plan, and breach of contract, among other claims.
  • Represented PSF Industries; the court overturned a $16m arbitration award against client PSF Industries in an ERISA dispute.
  • Represented CONSOL against claims for alleged lifetime retiree medical benefits on behalf of a purported class of several thousand retirees.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP represents companies in ERISA class actions, director and executive compensation litigation and other complex employee benefits disputes. The practice is led by Atlanta-based partner David Tetrick, who sits on AIG’s national fiduciary liability panel. His work includes defending Home Depot against accusations that its FutureBuilder plan breached fiduciary duties, charging excessive fees and returning poor performance. Other key practitioners include the Atlanta-based Jim Boswell and Bobby Burchfield in Washington DC. Also in Atlanta is Darren Shuler; he is noted for his role as lead counsel in certified class action disputes.

Practice head(s):

David Tetrick

Other key lawyers:

Jim Boswell; Bobby Birchfield

Testimonials

‘Deep bench of practitioners in a complex area, with varied experience.’

‘David Tetrick is a stand out in the group – he is technically exceptional while providing practical solutions in an esoteric area of law.’

Key clients

AIG

Bass Pro Shops

The Coca-Cola Company

Cumulus Media Inc.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Floor & Décor

The Home Depot Inc.

Kemira Chemicals, Inc.

SunTrust Banks, Inc.

Mueller Water Products

Peabody Energy Corporation

Spotted Hawk Development

Work highlights

  • Acts as lead counsel defending Home Depot in a certified ERISA class action involving its 401(k) plan, The Home Depot FutureBuilder.
  • Successfully defended Cumulus in a putative ERISA class action involving its defined benefit plan, the Cumulus Media Inc. 401(k) Plan.
  • Defended The Coca‑Cola Company in an ERISA breach of fiduciary duty case involving its health and welfare benefit plans.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP

McDermott Will & Emery LLP has offices across the US, covering a wide range of bases and allowing it to access state-level and federal expertise. The firm offers an integrated platform, with experts across a range of subject matters, including executive benefits, employee issues and broader labor law matters. The ERISA litigation team is led by Chicago-based partner Ted Becker and Miami-based partner Christian Nemeth.

Practice head(s):

Ted Becker; Christian Nemeth

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Liazoz; Allison Wilkinson

Testimonials

‘The MWE team is very creative in the litigation sense, identifying opportunities for litigation that would help to advance our organization’s mission. The team has strong relationships in the business community which helps to build amici support when needed. The team is creative on billing as well to ensure that the efforts can support the organization in the long-run.’

‘Andrew Liazos is a terrific partner for our organization as he spans public policy, design, and litigation. He understands all areas and can help to position clients in the best possible way, using whatever forum is needed to advance the cause.’

‘Allison Wilkerson and Chris Nemeth make a great team. They are subject matter experts, extremely responsive and always get the job done.’

Key clients

Banner Health

Liberty Mutual

Schneider Electric

Genentech Inc.

ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC)

Demoulas Supermarkets

Lubbock National Bank

KPC Healthcare

Life Insurance Company of the Southwest

SPCP Group

Work highlights

  • Represented Banner Health in a hard-fought dispute brought by claimants alleging that Banner mismanaged the company’s employee retirement plan by allowing the plan to pay excessive administrative fees, and by failing to properly monitor plan fiduciaries.
  • Represented Lubbock National Bank, a trustee to employee stock ownership plans, in a putative ERISA class action related to the Raydon Corporation Employee Stock Ownership Plan.
  • Represented Genentech in an ERISA litigation case.

Miller & Chevalier Chartered

Miller & Chevalier Chartered focuses on high-stakes ERISA litigation of novel health benefits issues. In recent years, it has been involved in significant ERISA health benefits cases in both the federal Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court, particularly efforts to supplement the ACA in matters related to ERISA litigation. The firm is led by Washington DC–based chair Anthony Shelley.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Shelley

Key clients

American Benefits Council (ABC)

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)

Association of Federal Health Organizations

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association National Employee Benefits Committee

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Inc.

Blue Cross of Idaho

The Delphi Salaried Retirees Association

Delta Pilots’ Pension Preservation Organization

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC)

Louisiana Health Service & Indemnity Company, (dba Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana)

Special Agent Mutual Benefit Association

Estate of Phyllis M. Wyeth, through executor James Wyeth

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP represents a wide range of clients, including single and multi-employer pension and benefit plans, plan sponsors, employers, fiduciaries, trustees, third-party administrators, and insurers and investment advisers on ERISA matters in both individual and class action lawsuits and withdrawal liability arbitration and litigation under ERISA. The practice is led by New York-based partner Ronald Richman, who concentrates on the litigation of employee benefits and restrictive covenant cases in federal and state courts throughout the United States involving trade secrets, non-competition, and breach of confidentiality and breach of loyalty issues. Richman also defends employee benefit plans, fiduciaries and employers in class actions and in cases brought by individual plaintiffs.

Practice head(s):

Ronald Richman

Key clients

Albertsons Companies

National Retirement Fund

Consolidated Retirement Fund

Cerberus Capital Management LP

UFCW Giant-Safeway Excess Benefit Pension Plan

IUE-CWA AFL-CIO Pension Fund

ILGWU Death Benefit Plan

UFCW International Union-Albertsons Variable Annuity Pension Plan

UFCW and Safeway Variable Annuity Pension Plan

ArentFox Schiff

Arent Fox LLP's niche lies in its vast expertise in the medical and healthcare sector; the practice defends retirement plans and clients accused of violating the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, and also represents medical providers seeking reimbursement from commercial health plans and insurers. The practice group is led by Washington DC-based partner Caroline English, whose work involves advising on both employment plans and providing medical coverage where healthcare plans require clarification.

Practice head(s):

Caroline English

Other key lawyers:

Alison Lima Andersen

Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Dorsey & Whitney LLP's active ERISA litigation practice has a particular focus on complex class actions. The team is led by Stephen Lucke, who has 25 years of experience leading ERISA class actions and complex litigation matters, and Andrew Holly, who draws on over 20 years’ experience representing fiduciaries, sponsors and insurers in complex ERISA matters.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Lucke; Andrew Holly

Key clients

Wells Fargo

UnitedHealth Group/Optum, Inc.

Prime Therapeutics

Xcel Energy

U.S. Bank

American Benefits Counsel

Sun Country Airlines

General Dynamics

Delta Air Lines

WebTPA

Work highlights

  • Represented a leading pharmaceutical benefit manager and its competitors against claims it breached ERISA fiduciary duties to participants in health plans across the country.
  • Representing Delta Airlines against claims alleging that it erroneously offset pension benefits based on amounts that were attributable to lost earnings arising from the resolution of participants’ worker’s compensation claims.
  • Represented UnitedHealth against putative class actions filed across the country seeking pharmacy benefits under the terms of their group health plans.

Holland & Knight LLP

Holland & Knight LLP‘s team covers a wide range of work and acts for clients across the US. It has a particular focus on ERISA and ESOP disputes for clients in the energy and research sectors, and can be found regularly assisting clients in these and other industries in class actions and Department of Labor enforcement actions. The department is led by Atlanta-based partner Todd Wozniak, who also works as a trial attorney defending companies, fiduciaries and public institutions. Eliot Burriss left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Todd Wozniak

Other key lawyers:

Lindsey Camp; Lynn Calkins

Testimonials

‘As a team, Holland & Knight has been able to bring in expert practitioners for any subject matter that arises during complex litigation. They’ve also been able to refer us internally to partners that can assist with advance risk management and planning. ‘

‘Their use of technology for eDiscovery matters has been excellent and supported our case preparation, all keeping it at the same firm.’

‘The attorneys we work with, primarily Todd Wozniak and Lindsey Camp, are clear experts in their field. They are familiar with the legal issues we face, the arguments that will arise, and the processes we are engaged in. They are good at explaining things clearly and advising us on different courses of action.’

Key clients

Isagenix Worldwide Inc.

Stiefel Laboratories, Inc.

RVR, Inc.

Kruse Western, Inc. and GreatBanc Trust Company

American Society of Appraisers

Willamette Management Associates, Inc.

RVNB, LLC

Tenneco

Willis Towers Watson

Corteva

Work highlights

  • Defending Stiefel Laboratories, Inc., its board of directors and several officers against multiple lawsuits claiming that the defendants breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA, among other claims.
  • Defending Kruse Western, Inc, its board of directors, its ESOP administrative committee, the selling shareholders, and the institutional trustee of the ESOP in a putative class action.
  • Representing all of the individual defendants, including the members of the Isagenix Worldwide, Inc.’s Board of Directors, in a putative class action.

Jones Day

Jones Day's employee benefits and executive compensation team acts for clients primarily in the food and healthcare industries. In Washington DC, practice co-head Evan Miller litigates employee benefits issues on behalf of corporate plan sponsors, multi-employer plan contributors, and institutional and individual ERISA fiduciaries. He also is actively engaged in special projects relating to the restructuring of pension and retiree health liabilities. Also in Washington DC is Miguel Eaton, who likewise deals with complex employee benefits issues, and co-chairs the practice.

Practice head(s):

Evan Miller; Miguel Eaton

Other key lawyers:

Kevin Noble

Key clients

C&S Wholesale Grocers

United Natural Foods Inc.

Edison Home Health

International Business Machines

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has successfully defended numerous corporate and individual clients in litigation, utilizing an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on ERISA-related litigation experience coupled with its compensation and benefits expertise. It is particularly active in the financial services industry, though its client base also spans a wide range of sectors, and it has a track record in successfully representing clients in trial and appellate courts nationwide on a wide variety of ERISA issues. Its work includes counseling on, among other areas, class actions alleging that plan fiduciaries violated ERISA as a result of allegedly imprudent investment options, ESOP and 401(k) plan stock-drop cases, cases alleging breaches of fiduciary duties, claims involving ERISA’s prohibited transactions provisions, challenges to ERISA plan amendments, ERISA pre-emption of state law claims and claims alleging fiduciary misrepresentation. The firm is led by litigation partners James Carroll and Michael Hines.

Practice head(s):

James Carroll; Michael Hines

Trucker Huss, APC

Trucker Huss, APC is a boutique firm with ERISA litigation practices in San Francisco and Los Angeles, with a team focusing exclusively on employee benefits law. It has a highly experienced and sophisticated ERISA litigation practice group, which defends employers and plan fiduciaries in cases involving claims for plan benefits and fiduciary breach allegations. The team is led by four partners: San Francisco-based partner R. Bradford Huss, a private mediator in ERISA litigation and fiduciary responsibility matters; Clarissa Kang, who handles benefits plans, plan administration and withdrawal liabilities, among other areas; Angel Garrett, who counsels public and private employers and non-profits in issues relating to fiduciary responsibility, prohibited transactions and benefit claims; and Los Angeles–based partner Joseph Faucher, who has decades of experience in defending class actions and representing plans and fiduciaries.

Practice head(s):

R. Bradford Huss; Clarissa Kang; Angel Garrett; Joseph Faucher

Testimonials

‘They are very experienced in ERISA litigation, which is a very complex practice. They are very communicative and collaborative in their efforts to provide you with the best defense possible.’

‘We worked primarily with Clarissa Kang and Brad Huss. Both were very good at keeping us focused, calm, and on-point. They communicated very clearly about the process, time frames, risks, and strategies. They were wonderful to work with and I highly recommend them.’

Key clients

GreatBanc Trust Company

Work highlights

  • Acting as lead counsel on a litigation matter involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty in connection with the sale of stock.
  • Acting for a client in billion-dollar 403(b) plan litigation.
  • Acting in an “excessive fee” class action lawsuit where there was significant potential financial exposure.