ERISA 403(b) Plan Litigation: New Frontier in Retirement Fund Litigation

Causes of Action, Defenses, Dismissals and Settlements, Lessons From 401(k) Claims

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


Conducted on Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will discuss the new wave of retirement plan litigation targeting Section 403(b) plans. The program will review the cases filed to date, legal theories raised, defenses, dismissals and the current state of the litigation. The program will review how prior 401(k) claims are instructive for these new 403(b) claims, and how the differences between the two types of plans make the 403(b) claims different in theories and defenses. The program will close with tips for fiduciaries to lower their risk of losing a lawsuit.

Description

403(b) defined contribution plans for nonprofit educational, charitable or religious organizations are the newest wave in ERISA retirement fund litigation.

Fiduciaries for scores of major universities have been hit with suits alleging breach of fiduciary duty due to excessive fees, imprudent selection and monitoring of investment options, and underperforming plan investment options.

Plaintiffs claim that these high asset plans provide fiduciaries with the bargaining power to achieve low cost administrative and investment management services, but fiduciaries fail to prudently negotiate fees and expenses. Claims also allege the fiduciaries selected investment options that consistently underperform.

While the case law and framework for 401(k) litigation are applicable, there are issues unique to 403(b) plans that make them more susceptible to lawsuits and present different legal issues than 401(k) litigation.

Listen as our authoritative panel of ERISA litigators reviews the recent wave of retirement plan litigation targeting Section 403(b) plans. The panel will discuss theories raised, defenses made, dismissals and current state of the litigation. The panel will analyze how 401(k) claim rulings are instructive for 403(b) claims and differences between the types of plans that make 403(b) claims unique. Finally, the panel will discuss how plan fiduciaries can adopt practices to lower their risk of losing a lawsuit.

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Outline

  1. Overview of litigation trends and developments
    1. Dismissed claims
    2. Pending litigation
  2. Defense perspective
    1. Theories of liability
    2. Defenses
  3. Lessons from 401(k) claims
  4. How plan fiduciaries can adopt practices to lower their risk of losing a lawsuit

Benefits

The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What are current trends in this wave of retirement fund litigation?
  • What are the theories plaintiffs allege to support claims against 401(b) fiduciaries?
  • How is the 401(k) litigation instructive for these new 403(b) claims, and how do the differences between the two types of plans distinguish 403(b) claims?
  • What practices can fiduciaries adopt to lower their risk of losing a lawsuit?

Faculty

Buckmann, Carol
Carol Buckmann

Partner
Cohen & Buckmann

Ms. Buckmann has advised global employers on U.S. and cross-border employee benefit matters for over 35 years....  |  Read More

French, Taylor
Taylor Wedge French

Partner
McGuireWoods

Mr. French's employee benefits practice covers a wide-range of traditional executive compensation and employee...  |  Read More

Steen, Bruce
Bruce M. Steen

Partner
McGuireWoods

Mr. Steen is the chair of the firm's labor and employment practice. He represents employers and management in...  |  Read More

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