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

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

A live 90-minute CLE webinar with interactive Q&A


Tuesday, September 26, 2017 (in 4 days)
1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT


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.

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

Carol Buckmann, Partner
Cohen & Buckmann, New York

Ms. Buckmann has advised global employers on U.S. and cross-border employee benefit matters for over 35 years. She focuses her practice on employee benefits and ERISA, dealing with some of the foremost issues in ERISA, including pension plan compliance, fiduciary responsibilities and investment fund formation. She has significant experience with complex pension law and fiduciary problems. 

Taylor Wedge French, Partner
McGuireWoods, Charlotte, N.C.

Mr. French's employee benefits practice covers a wide-range of traditional executive compensation and employee benefits matters along with a variety of inter-disciplinary practice areas and industries that are affected by executive compensation and employee benefits laws. He works with clients to design, implement and maintain equity compensation plans, long-term incentive plans, bonus programs and non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements for executives, employees and non-employee directors. He has extensive experience in the creation and maintenance of all manner of tax-qualified retirement plans and advises and negotiates executive compensation and employee benefits matters relating to private equity, mergers and acquisitions, and other corporate transactions. 

Bruce M. Steen, Partner
McGuireWoods, Charlotte, N.C.

Mr. Steen is the chair of the firm's labor and employment practice. He represents employers and management in labor and employment matters. On behalf of ERISA pension and welfare plans and plan sponsors, he has extensive experience litigating pension, disability and severance claims in federal courts in many parts of the country. He also has extensive experience litigating collective and class action claims throughout the United States arising under federal and state wage and hour and wage payment statutes. On behalf of employers and management, he litigates claims and counsels clients regarding the employment practices of federal contractors, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Labor Management Relations Act. 


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Customer Reviews

The best seminar I have attended on this topic! The speakers did an outstanding job making the topic understandable. 

Craig Kovarik

Husch Blackwel

Great overall summary of ERISA issues.

Shannon Awsumb

Anthony Ostlund Baer & Louwagie

The speakers possessed great technical knowledge and experience.

Ken Watt

Frederic Dorwart, Lawyers

The webinar addressed exactly what I needed for this area of my practice. Very useful information and very impressive program.

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Williams Mullen

The program was very helpful and gave me a good overview.

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Odin, Feldman & Pittleman

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Employment & ERISA Advisory Board

Susan E. Bernstein

Special Counsel

Schulte Roth & Zabel

Judith (Jude) Biggs

Partner

Holland & Hart

Joshua Davis

Director

Goulston & Storrs

Barbara E. Hoey

Partner

Kelley Drye

Jeffrey Hollingsworth

Partner

Perkins Coie

Diana L. Hoover

Partner

Hoover Kernell

Paul J. Kennedy

Shareholder

Littler Mendelson

Marcia Nelson Jackson

Partner

Wick Phillips

William C. Martucci

Partner

Shook Hardy & Bacon

Laura Foote Reiff

Shareholder

Greenberg Traurig

Eugene Scalia

Partner

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Peter Steinmeyer

Member

Epstein Becker & Green

Teresa R. Tracy

Partner

Freeman Freeman Smiley

Todd D. Wozniak

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Greenberg Traurig

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