401(k) Fiduciary Practices Under Attack

ERISA Litigation Trends and Effective Defense Strategies

Including Section 404(c) safe harbor tactics

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This seminar will examine current litigation trends arising from 401(k) plan management, review the effectiveness of the 404(c) safe harbor and other defenses to defeat claims, and outline best practices for fiduciaries to avoid and reduce ERISA litigation.


Over 100 lawsuits filed in recent years have alleged questionable business practices concerning 401(k) plans. Allegations have focused on excessive plan fees, inadequate disclosure of financial arrangements, plan mismanagement, and most recently, improper sales practices.

With over $3 trillion currently invested in 401(k) plans, continued litigation over these plans is highly likely. Among other steps to avoid lawsuits arising from 401(k) plans, plan fiduciaries are increasingly arguing that ERISA Section 404(c) safe harbor should be a litigation shield.

Listen as our panel of employee benefits attorneys reviews current 401(k) plan litigation trends, the 404(c) safe harbor and other defenses, and best practices for avoiding and mitigating ERISA litigation.



  1. 401(k) litigation trends
    1. Excessive fee and disclosure cases
    2. Plan mismanagement cases
    3. Sales practices cases
  2. Litigation defense strategies
    1. 404(c) safe harbor defense
    2. Statute of limitations
    3. Other defenses
  3. Best practices for 401(k) fiduciaries to avoid and reduce ERISA litigation
    1. Provide consistent and careful oversight of plans
    2. Provide participants with summary annual reports and Form 5500
    3. Follow PPA’s disclosure and asset modeling requirements
    4. Formalize procedures for company-sponsored plans


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What are the bases for the recent wave of 401(k) fiduciary duty claims — and what defenses are available to plan sponsors and fiduciaries?
  • How effective has the 404(c) safe harbor been in defending against claims?
  • What are best practices for sponsors to avoid ERISA violations and liability for 401(k) plan management?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.