Jenner & Block prides itself on close collaboration between its ERISA litigators and transactional benefit lawyers, resulting in a team that truly understands often-convoluted ERISA legal and factual issues. As a result, the Firm’s ERISA litigators have been successful in both resolving difficult litigation and avoiding it through proactive client counseling.
Our ERISA litigation work includes:
Defending breach of fiduciary duty claims under ERISA. We have defended a variety of businesses and ERISA plans against claims brought by participants, beneficiaries and the Secretary of Labor alleging violation of the numerous and complex fiduciary duties created by ERISA.
Counseling pension fund managers with respect to ERISA claims. The Firm’s ERISA litigators have advised and defended a variety of financial institutions and money managers with respect to questions and claims arising out of ERISA’s fiduciary duties to invest prudently, to diversify plan investments, and to abstain from the transactions prohibited by ERISA.
Defending claims for benefits under ERISA. Jenner & Block attorneys regularly appear in federal courts across the country on behalf of ERISA plans to defend decisions of plan administrators to deny benefits in actions brought by individual plaintiffs, numerous plaintiffs, and classes of plaintiffs. The Firm’s litigators have a record of prevailing in denial of benefits litigation on pre-trial motions, eliminating the time and expense of trials.
Defending ERISA claims that arise from reductions-in-workforce. Jenner & Block’s ERISA litigators are active in defending ERISA claims brought by plan participants and beneficiaries that arise out of clients' restructurings and reduction-in-force strategies, such as offers of severance benefits or “golden handshake” early-retirement incentives.
Litigating claims for contributions to union multiemployer benefits plans. We have defended both businesses and individual business owners against ERISA claims brought by union multiemployer plans (also known as Taft-Hartley plans) alleging that contributions are owed to the plans.
Litigating ERISA claims in a bankruptcy context. Working closely with attorneys in the Firm’s Bankruptcy/Corporate Restructuring Practice, our ERISA litigators have defended the interests of the Firm’s clients in bankruptcy courts throughout the country.
Counseling clients on avoiding benefits litigation. Our ERISA litigators are committed to working with in-house counsel, HR personnel and benefits coordinators to design and implement litigation-tested strategies for avoiding ERISA claims. The attorneys in the practice have presented several seminars to clients’ HR and benefits staff with an eye toward using education to eliminate certain practices that may run afoul of ERISA.
Jenner & Block is privileged to advise and represent leading businesses in the successful and efficient resolution of a variety of potential and actual ERISA litigation matters. A representative list of the Firm's clients in this regard includes:
Financial Institutions and Insurance Companies.
Defense and Aerospace Corporations
Manufacturing and Industrial Companies
Jenner & Block has been involved in many of the major ERISA cases in the Seventh Circuit and many ERISA cases elsewhere. Several cases handled by the practice have led to important published decisions. Some recent examples include:
Jenner & Block attorneys successfully advocated for reversal of the District Court’s decision, arguing that, under ERISA, the federal common law of agency was applicable to the question of whether the company had agreed to make contributions to the Fund, and that the District Court applied the wrong standard.