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Robert W. Rachal

Of Counsel
New Orleans

P 504-208-5847
F 504-208-1759
Robert.Rachal@jacksonlewis.com

Biography

Robert W. Rachal is Of Counsel in the New Orleans, Louisiana office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on complex ERISA fiduciary, benefits, and executive compensation litigation, including defending DOL investigations, and on advising ERISA fiduciaries.

His work has included advising fiduciaries and defending, across the country, companies, plan providers and plan fiduciaries in all types of complex ERISA litigation, e.g., from claims ESOP stock was overvalued, to claims 401(k) fees were excessive, or that pension plans owed greater benefits under complex provisions of ERISA. Robert’s work also includes advising and consulting on issues that arise in complex ERISA litigation and benefits claim processing and in disputed over executive benefits.  Representative recent matters include:

  • Defended several Catholic health care organizations against claims their multi-billion dollar pension plans did not qualify for the “church plan” exemption to ERISA. Motion to dismiss granted, which ruling was subsequently quoted and adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Advocate v. Stapleton, 137 S. Ct. 1652(2017)).  
  • Defended seller/ESOP trustee in claim ESOP paid too much for $1 billion hotel company. Favorable summary judgment and Daubert rulings for defendants led to amicable settlement.
  • Defended company against class action claiming company illegally cutback pension benefits in a cash balanced conversion. Motion to dismiss granted and affirmed on appeal.

Robert’s clients include both Fortune 500 companies and small and mid-size employers.

He is a prolific writer and lecturer on cutting-edge ERISA litigation and fiduciary issues, including for the ABA and Bloomberg BNA.

Robert was the Senior Articles Editor of Tulane Law Review while attending law school. After law school he clerked for Judge Jacques Wiener of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

Honors and Recognitions

  • US Legal 500 – Mention for Labor & Employment, ERISA Litigation (2008, 2012 & 2014-2016)  (Tier 1 – recommended lawyer who is “creative and thorough”)

Best Lawyers Award Badge

Best Lawyers - Lawyer of the Year 2019 - Robert W. Rachal

Robert W. Rachal
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Chambers USA 2019 - Robert W. Rachal

Professional Associations and Activities

  • American Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section (1994-present), Management Co-Chair Employee Benefits Committee (2011-2013)
  • American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, Fellow, (2013-present) and member Board of Governors (2016-present)
  • Louisiana State Bar (1993-present)
  • Wolters Kluwer Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Benefits Law Journal, (2017-present)

Pro Bono and Community Involvement

  • Fabourg Marigny Improvement Association, Legal Counsel 2006-2008
  • Lycee Farncais de la Nouvelle-Orleans, Legal counsel for parent group, advise board on personnel matters 2012-2014

Published Works

  • “Fee Litigation 2018 Round-Up: Recent Developments and Best Practices to Mitigate Risk,” in 32 Benefits Law Journal (Spring 2019)(forthcoming) [Co-Author]
  • ERISA Fiduciary Answer Book (Wolters Kluwer 8th ed 2019)[Co-author]
  • ERISA Litigation (BNA 6th ed. 2017 & 2018 Supp.), Chpt. 34 “Fees and Investment Prudence Litigation in Defined Contribution Plans” [Chapter Co-Author]
  • “Fee Litigation 2017 Round-Up: Recent Developments and Best Practices to Mitigate Risk,” in 31, No. 1 Benefits Law Journal 25 (Spring 2018) [Co-Author]
  • “Recent Litigation Developments Affecting Delaware Executive Compensation,” in BloombergBNA Tax Management Compensation Planning Journal (August 2017) [Author]
  • “ERISA Fee Litigation:Recent Developments and Developing Best Practices to Limit Exposure,” in Bloomberg BNA, Benefits Practice Resource Center (July 7, 2017) [Co-Author]
  • “Fee Litigation 2016 Round-Up: Mitigating Risk in the Face of Expanding Targets and Theories of Fiduciary Liability,” in 30, No. 1 Benefits Law Journal 21 (Spring 2017) [Co-Author]
  • ERISA Litigation (BNA 6th ed 2017), Chpt. 24 “The Affordable Care Act and ERISA Litigation” [Chapter Co-Author]
  • “Fiduciary Liability, DOL Audit, Fiduciary Insurance and Bonding,” in T. Rowe Price Fiduciary Source Guide (Dec. 2016) [Author]
  • “Disney and Chevron: Court Skepticism Can Provide Some Important Limits to Fee Litigation,” in Bloomberg BNA, Pension & Benefits Daily (Nov. 30, 2016) [Author].
  • ERISA Litigation (BNA 5th ed. 2014) Chpt. 39 “Violation of Fiduciary Duty by Misrepresentation and Nondisclosure” [Chapter Co-Author]
  • ERISA Litigation (BNA 5th ed. 2014) Chpt. 41 “Fiduciary Duties Regarding 401(k) & ESOP Investments in Employer Stock.” [Chapter Co-Author]
  • “Labor & Employment and ERISA Class Actions After Wal-Mart and Comcast – A Defense Perspective,” in 29 ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law 319 (Winter 2014) [Co-Author]
  • ERISA Litigation (BNA 5th ed. 2014) Chpt. 41 “Fiduciary Duties Regarding 401(k) & ESOP Investments in Employer Stock” [Chapter Co-Author]
  • “Using Experts to Defeat or Limit Class Certification in Employment Law and ERISA Cases After Wal-Mart and Comcast” in Bloomberg BNA, Class Action Litigation Report (February 14, 2014) [Co-Author]
  • CIGNA Corp. v. Amara and ERISA’s Equitable Remedies:  Revolutionary Overthrow or Doctrinal Clarification?” 25 Benefits Law Journal 37 (Spring 2012) [Co-Author].
  • “Proof of Imprudence, Causation, and Damages in Fiduciary Breach Claims Involving Plan Investments,” in Bloomberg Law Reports, Labor & Employment (February 2012) [Author]
  • “Cases and Issues in Cash Balance Litigation” in 22 The Labor Lawyer 29 (Summer 2006) (excerpt republished in “Best Articles” compendium in ABA’s GP Solo Sept. 2007) [Co-Author]
  • “Litigation Issues in Cash Balance Plans” in 17 Benefits Law Journal 66 (Spring 2004 & Summer 2004) & 30 Journal Pension Planning & Compliance 1 (Spring 2004) [Co-Author]

Speeches and Presentations

  • “Fiduciary Litigation Update,” ABA Employee Benefits Committee mid-winter meeting (February 2019, Nashville, TN & February 2018, Clearwater) (panel presenter).
  • “Lessons for 401(k) Plans from the University 403(B) Cases,” ABA Tax Section Midyear Tax Meeting (January 2019, New Orleans, LA) (panel presenter)
  • “Benefit Claims Part I:  Administrative Process” and “Benefit Claims Part II:   Litigation Overview,” ABA JCEB National Institute program on ERISA Basics (October 2018, Chicago, IL) (panel presenter)
  • “Ethical Considerations When Counseling Boards, Compensation Committees, Companies and Executives,” on fiduciary privilege and Delaware executive compensation litigation, Practising Law Institute, Hot Issues in Executive Compensation (September 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 & 2014) New York, NY) (panel presenter).
  • “Fiduciary Litigation,” Louisiana State Bar Association’s ERISA Seminar “The Razzle Dazzle of Employee Benefits” (September 2018, New Orleans, LA) (seminar co-chair and panel presenter)
  • “Defined Contribution Investment Litigation” and “Interlocutory Appeals,” ABA Advanced ERISA Litigation National Institute on (May 2018, Chicago, IL) (panel presenter)
  • “DOL Fiduciary Rule,” JCEB Government Joint Invitational (March, 2017, Baltimore, MD) (panel presenter)
  • “Employment Discrimination Litigation and Employee Benefit Issues: What Every Employment Attorney Should Know,” ABA Annual Labor and Employment Conference (Chicago Nov. 2016) (panel presenter)
  • “ESOP Fiduciary Duties & Corporate Governance: Compliance & Litigation Perspectives,” National Center for Employee Ownership 2016 National Conference (April 2016, Minneapolis, MN) (panel presenter)
  • “New Developments in Church Plan Litigation,” American Conference Institute 9th National Forum on ERISA Litigation (April 2015, Chicago, IL) (panel presenter)
  • “Working with Independent Fiduciaries to Protect Participants and Reduce Risk” American Conference Institute 11th and 12th National Forum on ERISA Litigation (March & June 2016, Chicago, IL & San Francisco CA) (panel presenter)
  • “It’s a New World for ESOPS:  The DOL/Great Banc Fiduciary Process Agreement and Recent Court Decisions,” ABA JCEB Webinar (Oct. 2014) (moderator)
  • “Ethical Complexities in Deals,” ABA JCEB National Institute program on Employee Benefits in Mergers & Acquisitions (June 2014, New York, NY) (speaker)
  • “ESOP Litigation Update” ABA Employee Benefits Committee mid-winter meeting (February 2014, New Orleans, LA) (panel presenter)
  • “Labor and Employment and ERISA Class Actions After Wal-Mart and Comcast,” Three Part Bloomberg BNA Webinar (February-April 2014) (panel presenter)
  • “Employee Stock Ownership Plan (“ESOP”) Litigation Trends and Hot Button Issues,” ABA JCEB Teleconference (June 2013) (panel presenter)
  • “Recent Developments in Complex ERISA Litigation,” ABA JCEB National Institute program on ERISA Litigation(May 2013, Chicago IL) (program co-chair and panel presenter)
  • “Healthcare Claims and Related Litigation Under the Affordable Care Act,” ABA JCEB National Institute program on ERISA Litigation (May 2013, Chicago IL) (program co-chair and panel presenter)
  • “Class Actions,” ABA JCEB National Institute program on ERISA Litigation (June 2012 Washington, D.C.) (program co-chair and panelist)
  •  “Supreme Court Update:  ERISA and Class Actions” ABA JCEB Teleconference (July 2011) (panel presenter)
  • “EEOC and Consideration of Age in Providing Retirement Benefits,” West LegalWorks teleconference (February 2008) (panel presenter) 

See AllRobert W. Rachal in the News

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August 15, 2019
Jackson Lewis

The Best Lawyers in America 2020 Honors Jackson Lewis Attorneys

August 15, 2019

WHITE PLAINS, NY (August 15, 2019) Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country’s preeminent workplace law firms, is pleased to announce more than 210 attorneys throughout the firm’s locations have been recognized in the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America, a publication that has become universally regarded as a definitive... Read More

April 25, 2019
Jackson Lewis

Chambers USA Recognizes Jackson Lewis and Its Attorneys in 2019 Edition

April 25, 2019

WHITE PLAINS, NY (April 25, 2019) Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country’s preeminent workplace law firms, is pleased to announce the firm and 72 of its attorneys have been recognized in the 2019 Edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, a prestigious annual guide ranking the leading law firms in the U.S.... Read More

April 16, 2019
Benefits Law Journal

Robert Rachal Authors "Fee Litigation 2018 Round Up: Recent Developments and Best Practices to Mitigate Risk"

April 16, 2019

Robert Rachal authors "Fee Litigation 2018 Round Up: Recent Developments and Best Practices to Mitigate Risk," published by Benefits Law Journal.   Read More

Showing 1-3 of 4