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René E. Thorne

Office Managing Principal and Office Litigation Manager
New Orleans

P 504-208-1755
F 504-208-1759

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René E. Thorne is Office Managing Principal of the New Orleans, Louisiana, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice covers the full range of employee benefit litigation matters, including representation of employers, plans, plan fiduciaries, and trustees.

In that regard, she has handled numerous ERISA class actions for clients such as Nortel Networks, Target, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Owens Healthcare, United Airlines ESOP Committee, Dunbar Armored, United Companies, Benefits Administration Corporation, and Beverly Enterprises. Ms. Thorne also has handled benefits and employment matters for such clients as for Alcatel-Lucent, Raytheon, Pfizer, Omega Protein, The Hartford, Northwest Airlines, Amtrak, United Airlines, Turner Industries, Starwood Hotels, and Sempra Energy. Ms. Thorne has been retained as an expert in complex ERISA breach of fiduciary duty, prohibited transaction, and cash balance cases. Ms. Thorne has been qualified and testified as an expert on ERISA matters in federal court.

Ms. Thorne has been quoted in and authored several articles on ERISA issues including most recently, Conkright v. Frommert- One Year Later: Are Courts Getting It Right?, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (May 19, 2011); High Court Vacates CIGNA Pension Case; Sets Stage for Expanded ERISA Remedies, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (May 17, 2011); Employer Stock: Court Adopts DOL's Safe Harbor Reading, Affirms Ruling in Motorola ‘Stock-Drop' Case, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (January 26, 2011); Court Certifies Class Action of Pension Plans, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (August 6, 2010); Two Years Later: The Legacy Of Larue, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (March 10, 2010); Employer Stock Decisions Spike in 2009 After Rocky Economy Ignites Litigation, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (Dec. 21, 2009); Rising Tide of Complex ERISA Litigation Presents Myriad of Class Certification Issues, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (September 18, 2009); ERISA Plan Fiduciaries Take Aim at Each Other as Investment Losses Rise, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (Feb. 26, 2009); The Evolution and Future of the ERISA Stock-Drop Cases, Employment Law 360 (Jan. 2009); Year in Review: 2008 Proves to Be Eventful in Employee Benefits Litigation, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (Jan. 5, 2009).

Ms. Thorne is active on the Employee Benefits Subcommittee of the Labor and Employment Section of the American Bar Association, and was recently the Management Co-Chair of the Employee Benefits Subcommittee Newsletter. She is a member of and lecturer for the ABA/EEO Liaison Committee of the American Bar Association, a past instructor for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and a former Barrister in the Thomas More Inn of Court.

During the course of her national practice, she has been admitted pro hac vice in courts across the country, including Alabama, the District of Columbia, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

While attending Loyola University School of Law, Ms. Thorne was a member of the Loyola Law Review and Moot Court.

Honors and Recognitions

  • The Best Lawyers in America
    • New Orleans Employment Law - Management, Lawyer of the Year (2012 and 2015)
    • New Orleans Labor & Employment, Lawyer of the Year (2013)
  • Law Dragon/Human Resource Executive, one of “The Most Powerful Employment Attorneys in America” (2011)
Best Lawyers Award Badge

Best Lawyers Award Badge

Pro Bono and Community Involvement

  • New Orleans Pro Bono Project, Volunteer Attorney

Published Works

  • "ERISA Litigation Issues In The Face Of Bankruptcy," The College of Labor & Employer Lawyers Newsletter (Fall 2006)
  • "Unforeseen Pitfalls in Settling Fiduciary Breach Claims with Individual Plaintiffs," Employee Benefits Committee Newsletter (Spring 2006)
  • "ERISA Mutual Fund Litigation: Another Front In The Post-Enron 401(K) Plan Wars," Professional Liability Underwriting Society Journal (2004)
  • "ERISA Preemption: To Infinity and Beyond and Back Again?" (A Historical Review of Supreme Court Jurisprudence), Vol. 58 Louisiana Law Review 997 (1998)
  • “When is Class Action Appropriate?” in ERISA Litigation (BNA 2d, 3d, and 4th ed., and 2006-2012 supps.) [Chapter Author]
  • Employee Benefits Law (2d ed. BNA 2000 and 3d ed. 2011) [Contributing Author]

Speeches and Presentations

  • “ERISA Class Actions – Up Close and Personal: An In-Depth Look at the Myriad of Complex and Ever-Evolving Issues,” BNA Audio-conference
  • “401(k) Plan Litigation: Employer Stock Suits Continue but Has Hecker v. Deere Changed the Fee Case Landscape?,” ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits
  • “The Mist – Navigating the Fog of ERISA," LSU School of Law Labor and Employment Law Conference
  • “The 401(k) & ESOP Employer Stock Cases: Cases and Issues,” Professional Liability Underwriting Society International Conference
  • “ERISA Litigation as a Contact Sport,” Women’s Executive Legal Conference
  • “Litigating the New Breed of ERISA Class Actions,” Glasser ERISA Litigation Conference
  • “After Enron: Employer Stock in 401(k) Plans,” ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits
  • “Recent Developments in Health Insurance Coverage of Contraceptives for Employees," ABA Taxation Section Employee Benefits Committee Meeting
  • “ERISA Remedies After Great West – Are There Any?”
  • “Employees in a Disaster: What to Do After Katrina,” ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits
  • “Managing in a Crisis: Employment, Employee Benefits, and Insurance Law Issues for Employers Affected by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina,” American Petroleum Labor Lawyers Association

See AllRené E. Thorne in the News

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January 20, 2016
Law 360

René Thorne Discusses SCOTUS ERISA Reimbursement

January 20, 2016

René Thorne discusses implications of Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan in Law 360's "Attorneys React to High Court ERISA Reimbursement Ruling." Subscription may be required to view article   Read More

November 20, 2015
Jackson Lewis

Jackson Lewis Publishes Q3 Diversity Committee Newsletter

November 20, 2015

Please enjoy our Diversity Committee Newsletter for the third quarter of 2015. A best practice of our firm, it includes personal, diversity-focused messages from our Diversity Committee Chair and Diversity Committee Manager, and highlights diverse attorney promotions, diversity-related activities, sponsorships and events the firm has... Read More

August 17, 2015
Jackson Lewis

Jackson Lewis Attorneys Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2016

August 17, 2015

WHITE PLAINS, NY (August 17, 2015)  Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country’s preeminent workplace law firms, is pleased to announce 137 of the firm’s attorneys have been named to the 2016 edition of Best Lawyers. In addition, 10 attorneys were named “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective... Read More

Showing 1-3 of 6

See AllPublications

March 29, 2016

Class Action Trends Report Spring 2016

March 29, 2016

Our quarterly report discusses new developments in class action litigation and offers strategic guidance and tactical tips on how to defend such claims. This issue covers the following topics: The legislation The caselaw Other class action developments On the radar We hope you enjoy it. Read More

January 21, 2016

Supreme Court: ERISA Plan Cannot Recover Settlement Funds that Have Already Been Spent

January 21, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court has narrowed, ever so slightly, the ever-changing definition of “appropriate equitable relief” under ERISA Section 502(a)(3). In Montanile v. Board of Trustees of National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan, the high court addressed whether a plan fiduciary can recover medical payments made on... Read More

May 19, 2015

ERISA Fiduciaries have Ongoing Duty to Monitor Trust Investments, U.S. Supreme Court Rules

May 19, 2015

Plan fiduciaries have a continuing duty to monitor investments offered under a 401(k) plan, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in a unanimous decision. Tibble v. Edison International, No. 13-550 (May 18, 2015).  Tibble has been much-anticipated by Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) practitioners and plan... Read More

See AllBlog Posts by René E. Thorne

Supreme Court: ERISA Plan Cannot Recover Settlement Funds That Have Been Spent
January 21, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court has narrowed, ever so slightly, the ever-changing definition of “appropriate equitable relief” under ERISA Section 502(a)(3). In Montanile v. Read More

By René E. Thorne and William H. Payne IV

Class Arbitration of ERISA Claims: Yes You Can!
August 6, 2015

ERISA neither expressly nor impliedly prohibits mandatory arbitration of claims. Numerous courts that have analyzed the purpose of both ERISA and the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) have held that ERISA claims are arbitrable. Read More

Tibble v. Edison International
May 18, 2015

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced a much-anticipated ERISA plan decision in the case of Tibble v. Edison International. Read More