ERISA

Overview

Our ERISA practice assists its clients both avoid and successfully resolve controversies involving claims for all forms of employer-provided benefits, breach of fiduciary duty, disputes between plan sponsors and third-party administrators, and alleged “interference” with participants and beneficiaries’ rights under employee benefit plans. Drawing on the strength of other practices at the firm and developments in ERISA litigation, we provide clients with efficient, results-oriented representation in this rapidly evolving and oftentimes highly technical field. Our familiarity with the procedural traps often inherent in ERISA disputes further enables us to “cut to the chase” so that employer assets may be allocated towards the costs of providing benefits instead of the additional costs of litigation.

In addition to achieving victories for our clients before federal district and circuit courts, we pride ourselves on counseling clients on how to avoid costly litigation targeting allegedly imprudent fiduciary oversight of employer pension plans, including through monitoring investment options and service-provider fees. Our lawyers have served as leading commentators in this latest forefront of ERISA litigation, frequently presenting on the latest trends in 401(k) fee litigation and appearing in publications such as the Journal of Pension Benefits and Fiduciary News.

A cornerstone of the practice, especially as it relates to employer-sponsored pension plans, involves private briefings with clients in which members of AGG’s Employee Benefits and ERISA practices come together to counsel clients on fiduciary “best practices” and highlight emerging trends in ERISA fiduciary litigation. Often collaborating with leading employee benefits professionals from around the country, these private briefings help clients better serve their plan participants and beneficiaries by becoming “unattractive defendants” in ERISA litigation.

Experience

  • Lead trial counsel securing summary judgment for certain heirs of the estate of one of the top executives of a multi-billion dollar public company in a dispute with other heirs over ERISA benefits flowing from the executive’s death, which then was affirmed on appeal by the Eleventh Circuit.

  • Served as special ERISA litigation counsel in action involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty by plan actors overseeing employee stock ownership plan (“ESOP”).

  • Provided plan fiduciary advice in relation to 401(k) plan proceeds deposited in mutual funds exposed to potential toxic mortgage-backed securities risk.

  • Secured summary judgment on behalf of CIGNA Corp. against a wrongful termination claim predicated on the alleged interference with plan benefits about to vest prior to termination.

  • Secured the prompt dismissal of ERISA claims brought by a former shareholder and executive of a national HVAC company who brought suit alleging retaliation and various breach of fiduciary duty and other claims following the termination of his employment.

  • Successfully resolved claims for denial of benefits and breach of fiduciary duties in complex dispute involving physicians in a prominent radiology practice.

  • Successfully resolved dispute between plan sponsor and third-party administrator regarding claims administration related to self-funded medical benefits plan.

Recognition

For the past several years, members of the AGG’s ERISA Disputes practice have been recognized as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars for their work in the fields of Employee Benefits and ERISA law.

 

Edward Marshall was an inaugural board member of the State Bar of Georgia’s Employee Benefits Law Section and previously served as Chair of the Section.

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