.hidden: {display:none;}; .visible: {display:block;}; ERISA Litigation & Other Employee Benefits Disputes - The Law Firm of Faegre Baker Daniels

ERISA Litigation & Other Employee Benefits Disputes

Faegre Baker Daniels has sophisticated and comprehensive experience resolving disputes related to employee benefit plans. That's important. It takes specialized skills to represent clients effectively in benefits disputes. Benefit plans are highly regulated, their terms are often complicated, and the disputes that arise under them are subject to unique procedural and substantive rules.

To provide our clients with first-tier advocacy in benefits disputes, we have a team of lawyers dedicated to this specialty. Collectively, our team members have not only sophisticated litigation experience but, just as importantly, a sophisticated understanding of employee benefit plans. Our team represents:

  • Employers (including privately held companies, publicly traded companies, ESOP-owned companies, churches, not-for-profit organizations and governmental entities such as state retirement systems, public school corporations, and public colleges and universities)
  • Plans (including defined benefit, defined contribution and hybrid retirement plans; welfare plans such as life, medical, short- and long-term disability, and severance plans; and all forms of executive, incentive, performance, equity and deferred compensation arrangements)
  • Fiduciaries (including plan administrators, trustees and investment advisors)
  • Service providers (including third-party administrators)
  • Individual executives
  • Insurers (as fiduciary-liability carriers, as service providers, as claim administrators, as benefit funders and as regulated entities before state departments of insurance)

From administrative claims to class action lawsuits to governmental investigations, we have represented clients in all varieties of benefits-related disputes and litigation, including those involving:

  • Breach of fiduciary duty (including "stock-drop" claims, claims for imprudent investment of plan assets, and claims for misrepresentation)
  • ERISA's statutory non-compliance penalties
  • Prohibited transactions under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code
  • ERISA pre-emption
  • Claims for benefits from all varieties of retirement, welfare, and executive and incentive compensation plans
  • Fiduciary liability insurance coverage
  • Withdrawal liability and delinquent contributions from multiemployer plans
  • Audits and investigations by the Department of Labor, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and the Internal Revenue Service
  • HIPAA compliance
  • COBRA compliance
  • Procedural matters (including jurisdiction, venue, standing, class certification and the appropriate scope of discovery)

We win cases by applying a nuanced understanding of the complex statutes, regulations and case-law rules that apply to benefit disputes, including:

  • ERISA's regulations that apply to administrative claims and appeals procedures
  • Federal subject matter jurisdiction and removal under ERISA's complete pre-emption doctrine
  • ERISA's special venue, service of process and standing provisions
  • ERISA pre-emption and the scope of the so-called "savings" and "deemer" clauses
  • ERISA's rules on standard of review and the exhaustion of administrative remedies
  • ERISA-specific defenses, including section 404(c) and statute of limitations defenses
  • The specific, limited and exclusive remedies available under ERISA
  • Application of the "fiduciary exception" to the attorney-client privilege

Our team places particular emphasis on the careful handling of benefits disputes before they become litigation. In this regard, many clients find our team's services of tremendous value when they confront, and in many cases, resolve claims at an administrative or other pre-litigation level.


Philip J. Gutwein II, Indianapolis
+1 317 237 8271
Steven L. Severson, Minneapolis
+1 612 766 7310

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