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Fiduciary Disclosure Duties and Reporting Obligations

Complex ERISA litigation often includes claims that fiduciaries breached their duties regarding plan administration and disclosure, and individual lawsuits will also frequently include these allegations.  The scope of ERISA remedies may be of critical importance in defending and limiting fiduciary exposure in this area.  Sound advice and training can also limit exposure in this area.

Attorneys at HJRF have extensive experience in defending these claims, including from member Robert Rachal’s prior work at the premier ERISA litigation practice at Proskauer.   Examples of class and complex benefits cases in which our attorneys have been involved include:

  • Fiduciary breach claim on disclosures Osberg v. Foot Locker, 909 F. Supp. 2d 527 (S.D.N.Y. 2012) (claim that misled class of approximately 16,000 participants about conversion to cash balance plan) (summary judgment dismissal), rev’d in part, 2014 WL 552784 (2d Cir. Feb. 13, 2014).
  • Fiduciary breach claim on disclosures Mathews v. Chevron Corp., 2002 WL 826804 (N.D. Cal. April 23, 2002, aff’d in part, rev’d in part, 362 F.3d 1172 (9th 2004) (defending company as fiduciary against claims breached fiduciary duties to inform groups of employees on window plan) (after trial and appeal won on 16 of 19 claims).
  • Fiduciary breach claim on disclosures – Electronic Data Systems, Inc. ERISA Litigation, 224 F.R.D. 613 (E.D. Tex. 2004) (defending company, CEO, CFO, and plan committees against claim misled on investments in employer stock) (successfully defended by defeating class certification of the claim).
  • Fiduciary breach claim on disclosures – Gearlds v. Entergy Services, 709 F.3d 448 (5th 2013)(defending company against claim misled on entitlement to retiree health benefits) (appeal reversed on remedy issue).
  • Fiduciary breach claim on disclosures – McGrath v. Lockheed Martin, 2002 U.S. App LEXIS 21278 (6th Cir. 2002)(successfully represented participant against plan fiduciary regarding the fiduciary’s misrepresentation of eligibility requirements of the early retirement incentive program.
  • Fiduciary breach claim on disclosures – Adams v. The Brinks Company, 2008 U.S. LEXIS 536 (4th Cir. 2008)(successfully represented participant who was allowed to keep pension benefit paid based on the representations of the plan administrator.

 We also have extensive experience in advising companies, plan fiduciaries and plan administrators on compliance with ERISA’s complex reporting and disclosure requirements.  And our experience in litigation gives us helpful insights in identifying the areas and practices that can create exposure, along with developing proactive practices that can limit these exposures.

Publications and Presentations

Attorneys at HJRF also speak and write extensively regarding fiduciary disclosure claims and ERISA’s reporting and disclosure requirements. Representative examples include:

Publications:

Robert Rachal, chapter co-author, ERISA Litigation (BNA 5th Ed. 2014) Chpt. 39 “Violation of Fiduciary Duty by Misrepresentation and Nondisclosure.”

Robert Rachal, co-author article, “Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual – The Supreme Court Construes ERISA Preemption Expansively in the Reporting and Disclosure Context” in ABA Employee Benefits Committee Newsletter Spring 2016.

Robert Rachal, co-author article, “CIGNA Corp. v. Amara and ERISA’s Equitable Remedies:  Revolutionary Overthrow or Doctrinal Clarification?” 25 Benefits Law Journal 37 (Spring 2012).

Al Holifield, contributing author, EMPLOYEE BENEFITS LAW (BNA 2nd Ed. 2008-2013), Chapter 10, “Fiduciary Responsibility.”

Dan Janich, chapter author, 2004-2005 Cumulative Supplements for Reporting and Disclosure in Employee Benefits Law (BNA Books, 1st ed. 2000).

Robert Rachal, co-author article, “The Duty to Inform and Fiduciary Breaches: The “New Frontier” in ERISA Litigation,” 14 The Labor Lawyer 503 (Winter/Spring 1999).

Presentations:

Al Holifield, Dan Janich and Robert Rachal, speakers at Employee Benefits Update Seminar on ERISA Litigation Update and Retirement Industry Update and Trends (September 2016, Nashville, TN).

Al Holifield and Robert Rachal, speakers at Employee Benefits Update Seminar on Fiduciary Update & Best Practices (August 2014, Knoxville, TN & November 2014, Bristol VA).

Dan Janich, panel presenter at ABA JCEB National Institute program on ERISA Basics on “Reporting and Disclosure Part I:  General and Pension Plans” and “Reporting and Disclosure Part II: Health Plans” (October 2013, Chicago, IL).

Dan Janich, panel presenter at ABA Employee Benefits Committee mid-winter meeting on “408(b)(2) and 404(a) Disclosures and the Ongoing Fee Litigation” (February 2013, Charleston, SC).

Robert Rachal, co-chair of ABA JCEB National Institute program on ERISA Basics, and panel presenter on Remedies (October 2012, Washington, D.C.).

Robert Rachal, panel presenter at ABA Employee Benefits Committee mid-winter meeting on ERISA fiduciary developments (February 2010 San Antonio, TX).

Robert Rachal, speaker at ABA API 2009 Annual Conference on Fiduciary Litigation:  Preventative Maintenance (May 2009, New Orleans, LA).

Robert Rachal, panel presenter at ABA Employee Benefits Committee mid-winter meeting on ERISA fiduciary developments (February 2009, Charleston, SC.).

Dan Janich, panel presenter at ABA Employee Benefits Committee mid-winter meeting on “ERISA Reporting & Disclosure Law” (February 2008 New Orleans, LA).

Robert Rachal and Dan Janich, panel presenters at ABA Employee Benefits Committee mid-winter meeting on “ERISA Plan Fee Disclosures: Legislative Proposals, DOL Regulatory Developments and Litigation” (February 2008 New Orleans, LA).

Robert Rachal, panel presenter at BNA’s program on “Fiduciary Litigation Preventative Maintenance” (November 2007, Washington, D.C.).

Robert Rachal, panel presenter at JCEB National Institute on ERISA Litigation on “Fiduciary Breach Litigation” (November 2007, Chicago, IL).

Robert Rachal, co-chair and presented at Glasser LegalWorks Fiduciary Program on   Limiting Fiduciary Exposure in Managing Complex Plans, Defined Benefit Plan Trends, Litigation Developments Affecting Fiduciary Conduct, and Managing the Risks: What’s Next? (June 2007, New York, NY).

Dan Janich, panel presenter at ABA Employee Benefits Committee mid-winter meeting on “ERISA Reporting & Disclosure Law” (February 2007, Rancho Mirage, CA).

Robert Rachal, panel presenter ABA Employee Benefits Committee mid-winter meeting on ERISA fiduciary developments in 2006 (February 2007, Rancho Mirage, CA).

Robert Rachal, co-chair and presented at Glasser LegalWorks Fiduciary Program on   Dealing with Complex ERISA Disclosure Issues (June 2006).

Dan Janich, panel presenter at ABA Employee Benefits Committee mid-winter meeting on “ERISA Reporting & Disclosure Law” (February 2006, Key Biscayne, FL).

Robert Rachal, panel presenter, ABA Tax Section Joint Fall CLE Meeting on “Current Fiduciary and Litigation Issues” (September 2005, San Francisco, CA)

Robert Rachal, speaker at ABA Annual Meeting, JCEB Program on “Current ERISA Remedies:  What Have the Courts Wrought” (August 2005, Chicago, IL).

Robert Rachal, co-chair and presented at Glasser LegalWorks Fiduciary Program on Dealing with Complex ERISA Disclosure Issues (June 2005, San Francisco; April 2005 New York, NY).

Dan Janich, panel presenter at ABA Employee Benefits Committee mid-winter meeting on “ERISA Reporting & Disclosure Law” (February 2005, San Francisco, CA).

Robert Rachal, co-chair and presented at Glasser LegalWorks Fiduciary Program on Dealing with Disclosure Issues (May 2004, New York, NY).

Dan Janich, panel presenter at ABA JCEB National Institute program on ERISA Basics on “Reporting and Disclosure” (May 2004, Chicago, IL).

Dan Janich, panel presenter at ABA Employee Benefits Committee mid-winter meeting on “ERISA Reporting & Disclosure Law” (February 2004, New Orleans, LA).

Robert Rachal, co-chair and presented at Glasser LegalWorks Fiduciary Program on Dealing with Disclosure Issues (June 2003, Chicago, IL).

Dan Janich, panel presenter at ABA JCEB National Institute program on ERISA Basics on “Reporting and Disclosure” (June 2003, Chicago, IL).

Dan Janich, panel presenter at ABA Employee Benefits Committee mid-winter meeting on “ERISA Reporting & Disclosure Law” (February 2003, San Diego, CA).

Robert Rachal, presented “Limiting Liability When Discussing Employee Benefits With Employees” – 2000 Winter Conference, Western Pension & Benefits Conference (March 2000, Denver, CO).