Litigation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) involving employee benefit plans continues to rise. And recent stock market volatility and investment losses by 401(k) plans have only increased the numbers of claims against employee benefit sponsors, administrators, fiduciaries, and other parties for breaches of fiduciary duty. As multimillion dollar judgments and settlements involving pension and 401(k) plans, and long term disability and severance benefits become more common, companies and benefits professionals need experienced ERISA counsel to protect them from costly employee benefit plan disputes.
Nixon Peabody has been at the forefront of ERISA defense litigation in federal trial and appellate courts throughout the United States, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Our ERISA Litigation practice is national in scope and includes experienced lawyers who frequently represent clients on all types of benefits disputes, including:
- Claims of breaches of fiduciary responsibility
- Federal preemption defenses
- Plan interpretation issues
- Prohibited transaction issues
- Imprudent investment issues
- Plan funding and termination matters
Whether facing a single claimant or multiple claimants—including multi-jurisdictional lawsuits or class actions—Nixon Peabody offers the critical defense clients need for any ERISA-related dispute.
The members of our ERISA Litigation team also work with clients being investigated by the Department of Labor and assist plan fiduciaries in adopting procedures designed to prevent them from becoming defendants in ERISA fiduciary litigation. The group has also represented four of the major independent fiduciaries used by private parties to represent employee benefit plans in the settlement of pending ERISA litigation, and members have served as expert witnesses on ERISA fiduciary issues.
Experienced ERISA litigators
Our team includes a leading former government ERISA litigator with 23 years of experience in the U.S. Department of Labor, having worked in both the Office of the Solicitor and the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (now known as the Employee Benefits Security Administration). The prominent reputation of senior members of the ERISA Litigation group has been demonstrated by their retention as expert witnesses in major ERISA litigation and arbitration (on fiduciary issues), their service as mediators to settle ERISA litigation, their service on the ERISA Advisory Boards of BNA and Employment Law360 publications, and the election of two of our attorneys as Charter Fellows of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel.
Our practice draws on the skill and experience of attorneys in our ERISA and executive compensation, financial services, labor and employment, securities litigation, and other practices. Our clients benefit from our substantive knowledge of employee benefits law, which is coupled with our broad, deep, and long-standing experience in class action and trial defense. We have a track record of fending off claims, often saving clients millions of dollars in payouts. In just the past five years alone, we have successfully defended well over 100 such cases in state and federal courts in half the states of our nation. In the process, we defeated numerous motions for class certification, won numerous motions to dismiss or for summary judgment, and successfully concluded settlements covering more than 100 million class members, including the largest consumer class action ever settled.