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Employee Benefits

Employee benefits present unique and complex challenges as organizations try to keep up with the regulatory landscape while simultaneously designing benefits and compensation strategies that allow them to attract, incentivize and retain employees.

Overview

Our Employee Benefits Practice Group handles a full spectrum of benefit law matters for a diverse mix of business clients on a nationwide basis. In keeping with the firm’s overall philosophy, we approach even the most technical and complex benefit law questions with an eye toward preventive strategies—minimizing the likelihood of liabilities associated with benefit claims, litigation and enforcement matters—and practical solutions.

We provide comprehensive legal advice, counseling and representation to plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries and benefit plans relating to:

  • Employee benefits issues arising in the design, administration, and operation of all benefit and compensation arrangements, including compliance with ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code; and
  • The defense of benefit, fiduciary and other claims relating to plan administration, and compliance with the terms of the plan and all applicable laws.

Some of the specific services we offer include:

  • Providing representation for a wide range of private, public and not-for-profit employers in virtually all aspects of tax-qualified defined contribution plans and defined benefit pension plans (including cash balance and other hybrid pension plan formulas);
  • Advising clients regarding all types of executive compensation arrangements;
  • Defending employers, plan sponsors, corporate officers and directors and employee benefit plans in examinations, summons proceedings, and adversary proceedings and appeals initiated under internal agency procedures by federal or state agencies and courts of specialized jurisdiction;
  • Counseling on the employee benefits issues arising in corporate transactions and workforce reorganizations, as well as the range of issues involved in multiemployer pension and welfare plan liabilities;
  • Advising shareholders, public and private/family-held corporations, bank holding corporations, institutional and individual trustees, officers, directors, and other parties and investors (i.e., private equity groups) on designing, implementing and using ESOPs in various types of transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, estate and succession planning, hostile takeover bids, tender offers, shareholder liquidity/Section 1042 of the Internal Revenue Code tax-deferred transactions, stock re-purchases by issuers, redemptions and recapitalizations, management and leveraged buyouts, and the use of ESOPs as an acquisition strategy.

In addition, our experienced benefits litigators represent employers, plans, insurers, plan administrators, institutional and individual trustees, officers and directors, selling shareholders and third-party administrators in ERISA and related benefits litigation in virtually all 50 states. This litigation involves both mainstream ERISA litigation as well as complex benefits litigation and class actions.

The Benefits Group also works closely with the firm's Privacy, e-Communication and Data Security Practice Group on compliance with the HIPAA/HITECH Privacy and Security regulations with regard to group health plans and health care providers, as well as with our Disability, Leave and Health Management Practice Group with respect to benefits-related considerations for Wellness Programs in the workplace.

Health Care Reform Team

Our Employee Benefits Practice Group includes a Health Care Reform team focusing on compliance with federal health care reform. Our team members are Kathleen Barrow, Kelvin Berens, Lisa deFilippisMichael Jacobster, Jay KnightJoseph Lazzarotti, Randy Limbeck, Joy Napier-JoyceMelissa Ostrower, Eric Simon and Monique Warren.

The Health Care Reform team follows federal health care reform legislative developments and legal decisions and monitors regulatory and other guidance. We present numerous seminars and webinars for employers on the impacts of federal health care reform and practical considerations and strategies for compliance.

The Team

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Feb 9

Register Now

Designer Defenses: What You Can Do Today to Prevent Benefits Litigation Tomorrow

February 9, 2017 - 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST
Credits: CLE - Pending*, HRCI - Pending, SHRM - Pending
Register Now

Archived

Watch Now

Designer Defenses: What You Can Do Today to Prevent Benefits Litigation Tomorrow

October 6, 2016 - 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM CST
Credits: CLE - 1.0/1.2*, HRCI - 1.0, SHRM - 1.0
Watch Now

Archived

Watch Now

Higher Education Institutions Beware: New ERISA Class Action Lawsuits on the Rise

September 22, 2016 - 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM EST
Credits: CLE - 1.0/1.2*, HRCI - 1.0, SHRM - 1.0
Watch Now

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January 13, 2017

Federal Court Enjoins Health and Human Services Department from Enforcing ACA Protections for Transgender Individuals

January 13, 2017

The Obama Administration was dealt a blow in its efforts to expand legal protections for transgender individuals relating to the receipt of health care services and health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas has issued a nationwide... Read More

January 10, 2017

2017: The Year Ahead for Employers

January 10, 2017

An executive summary of recent changes in workplace law and a look ahead to 2017. Read More

January 10, 2017

Ohio Limits Local Workplace Laws, Expands Concealed Carry Rights of Licensed Gun Holders

January 10, 2017

A new Ohio law mandates uniformity of laws across the state affecting wage-hour, paid sick and safe leave and other fringe benefits, and scheduling of employee work hours. Senate Bill 331 expressly prohibits cities and counties from adopting laws in these areas that differ from those enacted at the state and federal level. Senate Bill... Read More

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January 3, 2017
SHRM

Eric Magnus and Patricia Anderson Pryor Discuss Workplace Legal Trends for 2017

January 3, 2017

Eric Magnus and Patricia Anderson Pryor discuss anticipated labor and employment law policy changes for 2017 in "Workplace Legal Trends for 2017," published by SHRM. Subscription may be required to view article Read More

December 13, 2016
SHRM

Joseph Lazzarotti Comments on Implications of 21st Century Cures Act

December 13, 2016

Joseph Lazzarotti comments on implications of the new 21st Century Cures Act law in "New Law Lets Small Employers Use Stand-Alone Health Reimbursement Arrangements," published in SHRM. Subscription may be required to view article Read More

November 16, 2016
SHRM

Stephanie Lewis Comments on Donald Trump's Paid Maternity Leave Proposal

November 16, 2016

Stephanie Lewis comments on Trump's paid maternity leave proposal and opposition from GOP congressional leadership in "Trump’s Maternity Leave Proposal May Not Be Popular on Capitol Hill," published by SHRM. Subscription may be required to view article Read More

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See AllBlogs

The New ERISA Claims and Appeals Regulations for Disability Benefits
December 29, 2016

The Employee Benefits Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor recently published final regulations governing the ERISA claims and appeals process that will apply to all claims for disability benefits filed on or after January 1, 2018. Read More

21st Century Cures Act Would Give Small Employers Greater Use of HRAs
December 9, 2016

Passed swiftly by Congress, the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 34) seeks to hasten cures for killer diseases, among other things. President Obama is expected to sign the bill on Tuesday, December 13. Read More

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November 22, 2016

President-elect Trump’s new administration will be in place in just two months.  Employers wonder about what the incoming administration will do with respect to workplace laws that impact them.  In the Employee Benefits and ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) world, what comes to mind immediately are the Affordable Care Act an Read More