Independent Settlement Fiduciary in ERISA Litigation

Attorneys at HJRF have experience in ERISA Litigation as an independent settlement fiduciary. In particular, Dan Janich has experience as an independent fiduciary with respect to class action settlements for plan sponsors in 401(k) and ESOP litigation. An independent fiduciary is responsible for determining the reasonableness of the settlement and determines whether the settlement satisfies the conditions of Prohibited Transaction Exemption 2003-39 (“PTE 2003-39”), including negotiating any changes necessary to protect the interests of the Plans and their participants.

As an independent fiduciary, the primary responsibility is to ascertain the strength of the claims brought in the litigation, the potential recovery in the case, and the scope of the release in exchange for the settlement, as well as the reasonableness of fees paid to claimants’ legal counsel. As part of the duties, a report is prepared for the parties and the court addressing these issues.

Recently, Dan’s experience as an independent fiduciary led to his being appointed to review and approve a class settlement in one of the most significant ERISA class action suits that had been litigated before the U.S. Supreme Court prior to resolution.