The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) protects employee benefits, which are some of the most valuable aspects of employee compensation. ERISA’s protections extend to retirement benefits such as traditional pension plans, 401k plans, cash balance plans, and annuities, and also to “welfare” benefits such as health care, paid vacation, disability plans, life insurance plans, and the like.
ERISA strictly regulates the actions of the people and entities administering employee benefit plans. These administrators must provide prudent management, act only in the interest of plan beneficiaries, and provide adequate and accurate information to them about the plans and their accounts. They must provide the benefits promised under the plans, may not improperly cut back vested benefits, and may not terminate or otherwise discriminate against plan participants to prevent them from accruing additional benefits.
M&S attorneys Michael Lieder and Joshua Karsh have litigated numerous class actions raising ERISA claims, including breaches of fiduciary duty, illegal denials of benefits, illegal cutbacks of vested benefits, and violations of ERISA section 510’s prohibition on adverse employment actions to prevent employees from attaining benefits. Mike recently litigated a class action case on behalf of approximately 100 medical professionals who had been unfairly classified as contractors, in order to avoid paying them benefits, in violation of both ERISA and federal and state wage and hour laws. The case settled for $3.4 million, with a gross average award of over $27,000 per class member.
M&S lawyers have successfully litigated path-breaking class actions claiming that plans improperly limited their participants’ choices under their 401(k) plan for certain types of investments to the employer’s own mutual funds rather than offering the superior funds managed by other investment companies.
M&S’s litigation experience under ERISA includes:
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