ERISA Preemption Litigation

Preserving the Defense and Crafting Benefit Plans to Minimize State Lawsuits

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

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Conducted on Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This seminar will analyze recent legal developments and trends in ERISA preemption litigation and strategies for defending ERISA preemption cases. The panel will also outline best practices for crafting ERISA covered benefit plans to preserve preemption and minimize state lawsuits.


The ERISA preemption issue dominates employee benefits litigation and is at the heart of litigation over “pay or play” state-law mandates. With employee retirement plan litigation on the rise, preemption arguments are a critical component of litigation strategy.

Plaintiffs seek to avoid ERISA preemption to preserve state common law claims, jury trials and broader remedies. Defendants embrace preemption to obtain a federal court bench trial and eliminate common law and extra-contractual damage claims.

Practitioners who develop benefit plans and provide compliance counsel to insurance companies and corporate benefit administrators must keep abreast of litigation trends. The plan contract is key in preserving ERISA preemption from the outset and reducing the threat of litigation.

Listen as our authoritative panel of ERISA attorneys discusses the trends and developments in ERISA litigation and discusses best practices for drafting ERISA benefit plans.



  1. Trends and developments in ERISA preemption litigation
    1. “Pay or play” state law mandates
    2. Retirement benefit plans (ESOPs/401Ks)
    3. State law FMLA statutory mandates
    4. Others
  2. Best practices for litigating preemption claims
  3. Best practices for drafting ERISA covered plans to preserve preemption


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • How have "pay or play" mandates affected employers and plan administrators?
  • What are best practices for getting an ERISA benefits case into federal court on preemption grounds?
  • How can counsel craft employee benefit plans to preserve the ERISA preemption defense?


Michael G. Monnolly
Michael G. Monnolly

Alston & Bird

He represents major corporations in ERISA class actions involving retiree medical benefits, prohibited transactions,...  |  Read More

Todd D. Wozniak
Todd D. Wozniak

Greenberg Traurig

He is a trial lawyer who defends companies and public institutions nationwide in labor and employment, ERISA, and...  |  Read More

James P. McElligott
James P. McElligott


Mr. McElligott handles employment, executive compensation and benefit related matters for corporations and public...  |  Read More

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