Pensions, 401(k)s And Other ERISA Matters
At Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC, we enjoy a prominent reputation nationwide for advising clients and litigating matters under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
For decades, our attorneys have represented Taft-Hartley health and welfare funds, JATC apprenticeship funds, and both defined contribution and defined benefit pension funds. Additionally, our Tennessee law firm brings claims on behalf of individuals for wrongful denial of benefits or other participation issues.
Our depth of experience in a wide range of ERISA matters allows us to efficiently represent plan fiduciaries and participants in cases related to:
- Imprudent investment claims in employer stock
- 401(k) class actions for breach of fiduciary duties
- Non-qualified deferred compensation
- Executive defined compensation claims
- General fund administration and compliance
- Plan reporting
- Disclosure and notice requirements
- Preemption of state law
- Pension and welfare benefit claims
- Discrimination in plan design and administration
- Claims of retaliation and interference with protected rights
- Plan calculations and amendments
- Bankruptcy issues involving pension plans
- Severance issues arising out of mergers, acquisitions and terminations
- Participant direction of investment
- Eligibility determinations
- Department of Labor (DOL) exemptions, interpretations, investigations and enforcement
Our Experience In Ancillary Areas Provides Added Benefit
Over the years, our clients have included individual fiduciaries, plan participants, plan sponsors and administrators, custodians and trustees. We have experience in both individual claims for employee benefits and in class action lawsuits related to ERISA.
However, our experience is not limited to the ERISA arena. Our attorneys’ knowledge-base also covers ancillary areas of law such as securities law and labor law. Drawing upon their in-depth understanding of these other areas of practice allows our lawyers to craft more comprehensive and effective solutions to clients’ concerns.
Notable Case Results In ERISA Litigation
Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC, has successfully resolved numerous ERISA-related disputes since 1952. Here are a few:
- Qwest Savings and Retirement Plans ERISA Litigation, (Civil Case No. SEQ CHAPTER h 1 02-cv-00464-REB-PAC)(D. Colo.) (Blackburn). Firm served as co-chair counsel in a class action on behalf of participants in the Qwest Communications International, Inc. 401(k) Plan. The suit alleged that Plan fiduciaries at Qwest and Plan trustee Deutsche Bank violated their duties owed under ERISA by encouraging Plan participants to invest in Company stock at a time when the stock price was artificially-inflated. The settlement, which has been preliminarily approved by the court and awaits a hearing on final approval in November, 2006, results in the plan recovering millions of dollars and protects the plan’s right to recover in the parallel securities action.
- Providian Financial Corp. ERISA Litigation, No. C 01-5027 (N.D. Cali.). Co-lead counsel in a 401(k)/ESOP class action suit brought against fiduciaries at Providian Financial for violation of duties owed under ERISA. Settlement reached provided cash to Plan members, lifts Plan sales restrictions, and allows Plan members to recover in parallel securities action.
- Xcel Energy, Inc. ERISA Litigation, (Civ. 02-2677)(D.Minn)(Doty). Co-lead counsel in a 401(k)/ESOP class action suit brought on behalf of pension plan participants against fiduciaries at Xcel Energy for violation of duties owed under ERISA. Settlement agreement reached provides cash settlement to Plan members, lifts Plan sales restrictions, and allows Plan members to recover in parallel securities action.
- Montana Power ERISA Litigation, No. 4:02-0099 (D. Mont.) (Haddon). Co-lead counsel in a 401k/ESOP class action suit brought on behalf of pension plan participants against fiduciaries of Montana Power, Touch America and Northwestern Energy and against the Trustee, Northern Trust, for violation of duties owed under ERISA. A preliminary settlement has been reached against the individual defendants. A trial date for claims against Northern Trust has not been set.
- Nortel Networks Corp. ERISA Litigation, No. 3-03-MD-1537 (M.D. Tenn.) (Nixon). Co-lead counsel in a 401k/ESOP class action suit brought on behalf of pension plan participants against fiduciaries of Nortel Network Corp. for violation of duties owed under ERISA. The litigation is currently in the discovery stage.
- Worldcom ERISA Litigation, No. 02-CIV-4816 DLC (S.D.N.Y.). Counsel in a 401(k)/ESOP class action suit brought on behalf of pension plan participants against fiduciaries at Worldcom for violation of duties owed under ERISA. Firm was active until case was sent to panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) and to New York.
- Delphi Corp. ERISA Litigation (Polito v. Delphi Corporation, et al.), No. 05-cv-71249 (E.D. Mich.). Lawsuit brought on behalf of participants in Delphi pension plans alleging that plan fiduciaries breached their duties and responsibilities under ERISA by, among other things, failing to investigate the prudence of an investment in Delphi stock and by making misrepresentations about the Company’s accounting practices for off-balance sheet financing and vendor rebates dating back to 1999.
- Global Crossing ERISA Litigation, No. 02 Civ. 7453 (S.D. N.Y.) (Lynch). One of several counsel in a 401k/ESOP class action suit brought on behalf of pension plan participants against fiduciaries at Global Crossing for violation of duties owed under ERISA. Settlement reached that provided a $79 million cash payment to the Plan for participants and allowed Plan to recover in parallel securities action.