Defined Benefit Plan Litigation: Emerging Strategies to Challenge Pension Plan Investments

Avoiding and Defending Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims for Pension Investment and Other DB Plan Decisions

Class action filed against Weyerhaeuser over pension plan investments in derivatives and PE and hedge funds

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

Conducted on Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Course Materials

This CLE course will analyze novel theories of fiduciary duty and investment management liability in the Weyerhaeuser case, as well as other key developments in defined benefit plan litigation. The panel will offer strategies for defending and minimizing exposure to defined benefit plan litigation.


In April 2011, a class action filed against one of Weyerhaeuser’s defined benefit plans alleged the fiduciaries invested heavily in alternative investments such as derivatives and private equity and hedge funds, causing the plan to go from a $2.1 billion surplus to being underfunded in one year.

The Weyerhaeuser claims are a radical departure from previous case law that limited potential liability for investment decisions under a defined benefit plan. Thus, the Weyerhaeuser case represents novel theories of liability against pension plans along the lines of the 401k stock drop litigation.

Other defined benefit claims such as cash-balance litigation continue to burden companies with huge defense costs and settlement expense. In May, Duke Energy settled cash-balance litigation for $30 million. The Supreme Court’s CIGNA Corp v. Amara case arose out of a defined benefit plan conversion.

Listen as our authoritative panel of ERISA attorneys discusses recent developments in defined benefit plan litigation and provides best practices for defending and avoiding exposure to these claims.



  1. Overview of investment management liability in DB plans
    1. McCullough v. AEGON USA (8th Cir. 2009)
    2. Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (8th Cir. 2002)
  2. Analysis of Palmason v. Weyerhaeuser
    1. Analysis of causes of action
    2. Potential defenses
    3. Use of alternative investment vehicles
  3. Other developments in defined DB litigation
    1. Cash balance plan litigation
    2. Impact of CIGNA Corp. v. Amara


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What are the key recent developments in defined benefit plan litigation?
  • How will the Weyerhaeuser case change the face of pension plan litigation?
  • What steps should plan fiduciaries take to minimize exposure to defined benefit plan litigation?

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


Myron D. Rumeld
Myron D. Rumeld


He supervises the bulk of the firm’s employee benefits plan litigation activities in the firm’s New York...  |  Read More

Fleckner, James
James O. Fleckner

Goodwin Procter

Mr. Fleckner is a nationally recognized leader in the field of ERISA litigation and heads the firm’s ERISA...  |  Read More

David C. Kaleda
David C. Kaleda

Alston & Bird

He has extensive experience with qualified plan compliance, design and drafting. He manages compliance projects for...  |  Read More

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