ERISA Litigation

Litigation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) involving employee benefit plans continues to rise, increasing the need for companies and benefits professionals to look to 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 experienced team frequently represents clients on all types of disputes involving employee benefit plans, including:

  • Claims for Breach of Fiduciary Duty
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) Litigation
  • Appellate Litigation
  • Class Action Litigation
  • Litigation Over Entitlement to Benefits
  • Top-Hat Plan Litigation
  • ERISA § 510 Claims
  • Multi-employer Plan Litigation
  • Claims Preempted by ERISA
  • Department of Labor Investigations and Litigation
  • Church Plan Litigation
  • Benefits in Bankruptcy Litigation
  • State Court Litigation
  • Retiree Health and Welfare Plan Modification and Litigation
  • Service Provider Litigation
  • Executive Compensation Litigation

Whether facing a single claimant or multiple claimants—including multi-jurisdictional lawsuits or class actions—Nixon Peabody offers the critical defense clients need for ERISA-related disputes. Our practice draws on the skill and experience of attorneys in our ERISA and Executive Compensation, Financial Services, Labor and Employment and Securities litigation practices. And we work with clients to help prevent disputes and litigation in the first place.

Experienced ERISA litigators

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.

ERISA Arbitration, New Legal Theories to Be Tested in 2021

Law360 | January 03, 2021

In this article on notable ERISA cases in the year ahead, San Francisco office managing partner and Corporate partner Karen Ng is quoted for her outlook on Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Ass’n, et al v. CA Secure Choice Retire. Svg., et al and the tension between ERISA’s broad preemption powers and the desire by states to provide retirement benefits to employees of small companies. The case’s outcome could determine other states’ programs.

As AI Evolves, No Need for Overhaul of US Patent System... Yet

insideBIGDATA | September 14, 2020

Chicago Intellectual Property partner Dan Schwartz and associate Paulina Starostka contributed this article on whether the U.S. patent system needs an overhaul to keep up with the rapid rise in artificial intelligence-related patent activity.

5 ERISA Cases To Watch In The 2nd Half Of 2020

Law360 | July 29, 2020

San Francisco office managing partner and Corporate partner Karen Ng was quoted in this article for her outlook on the federal government’s interest in Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program, and the rise in ERISA privacy and cybersecurity lawsuits in Harmon et al. v. Shell Oil Co. et al.


Charles M. Dyke

Leader, ERISA Litigation Practice

Phone: 415-984-8315

Stephen J. Jones


Phone: 585-263-1386

Neal J. McNamara


Phone: 401-454-1019

  • U.S. News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” 2020 ranked as National Tier One in: Appellate Practice, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Law, Employment Law—Management, Energy Law, Franchise Law, Health Care Law, Labor Law—Management, Litigation—Construction, Litigation—Labor & Employment, Litigation—Real Estate, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions—Defendants, Patent Law, Public Finance Law, Real Estate Law, Securities Regulation, Tax Law
  • In addition, many Nixon Peabody practices received U.S. News/Best Lawyers Tier 1 rankings at the regional level in the following geographies: Albany, NY; Boston; Buffalo; Chicago; Long Island; Los Angeles; Manchester, NH; New York City; Providence, RI; Rochester, NY; San Francisco; and Washington, DC.
  • BTI Litigation Outlook 2019: “Most Feared Law Firms”—Honor Roll
  • Chambers USA
  • Legal 500
  • Benchmark: Litigation/Appellate
  • Law 360—Employment 100
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