ERISA Class Action Trends: Trial and Settlement Strategies

Leveraging the New Developments in Stock Drop, Cash Balance Plan, Fiduciary Duty, Plan Administration and Fee Cases

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


Conducted on Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will provide guidance to counsel for plan administrators and fiduciaries to avoid or minimize class action litigation. The panel will examine recent trends in ERISA class actions, analyze key substantive and procedural issues in recent rulings, and suggest trial and settlement tactics.

Description

The faltering economy, an aging workforce and mass layoffs created the perfect storm for ERISA class action lawsuits during 2009. Class certification issues predominated in cases challenging employer stock incentives in 401Ks and ESOPs, investment management decisions, and management fees.

Other issues addressed during 2009 include breach of fiduciary duties, pension calculations, attorney fee awards, and the effect of Iqbal on pleadings.

The circuits are currently split on whether plaintiffs who received lump-sum distributions have standing to file lawsuits. In addition, courts continue to wrestle with the issue of whether cash balance plans are age-discriminatory.

Listen as our panel of employee benefits attorneys explains current trends in ERISA class action litigation, suggests effective trial and settlement strategies for ERISA class action claims, and discusses steps plan fiduciaries should take to avoid and reduce ERISA litigation.

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Outline

  1. ERISA class action trends
    1. Stock drop suits
    2. Fee cases
    3. Cash balance claims
    4. Plan administration suits
    5. Fiduciary duties
  2. Litigation and settlement strategies
    1. Class certification
    2. Standing
    3. Attorney fee awards
  3. Best practices for fiduciaries to avoid and reduce ERISA litigation
    1. Consistent and careful oversight of plans
    2. Participant communications
    3. Keeping up to date on changes in the law and the investment/administrative marketplace

Benefits

The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What are the bases for the recent wave of ERISA class action lawsuits—and what defenses are available to plan fiduciaries?
  • How have the courts addressed claims involving breach of fiduciary duties, pension calculations, attorney fee awards, and the effect of Iqbal on pleadings?
  • What litigation and settlement strategies have proven effective for counsel pursuing and defending ERISA class action claims?

Faculty

Ian H. Morrison
Ian H. Morrison

Partner
Seyfarth Shaw

He co-chairs the firm's ERISA Litigation Practice Group. His ERISA and employee benefits litigation experience includes...  |  Read More

Neil A. Capobianco
Neil A. Capobianco

Partner
Seyfarth Shaw

He specializes in ERISA and wage and hour class action litigation and has represented and advised management in all...  |  Read More

Linda J. Haynes
Linda J. Haynes

Partner
Seyfarth Shaw

She has substantial experience counseling clients in all elements of employee benefit plans and executive compensation....  |  Read More

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