Employee Benefits/ERISA & Compliance Leader
Employee Benefits/ERISA & Compliance Professionals
Employee Benefits/ERISA & Compliance Areas of Practice
Employee Benefits/ERISA & Compliance Related Sectors & Services

Employee Benefit Plan Design & Plan Correction Programs

Clark Hill’s Employee Benefits team advises businesses, governmental entities, and individual clients on the full range of plan design and administration issues relating to qualified and nonqualified employee benefit plans. Our experience is broad and deep, and includes the drafting and implementation of plans; preparation of Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor, and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) filings; and assistance with IRS, Department of Labor, and PBGC plan audits. We also assist clients using various plan correction program compliance.

Our attorneys are well-versed in all types of tax-qualified plans, including profit sharing, defined benefit, 401(k) and 403(b) plans, money purchase, cash balance, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), multiemployer and multiple employer plans, and state and local government pension plans. We frequently assist sponsors of pooled securities, real estate, and venture capital investments in complying with ERISA when they have pension fund investors.

Moreover, our benefits team represents financial institutions in the design and maintenance of “master” retirement plans and individual retirement account (IRA) programs. We have successfully resolved significant IRS and Department of Labor investigations and audits of alleged violations of ERISA and the Code.

Also, our attorneys advise on welfare and fringe benefit plans, including cafeteria plans, COBRA compliance, flexible spending accounts, health reimbursement accounts (HRA), the Medicare secondary rules and other coordination of benefits issues, qualified medical child support orders, claims procedures, tax and compliance issues associated with self-insured medical plans, severance plans, voluntary employees' beneficiary association (VEBA) plans, group health plans, disability plans, wellness plans, and on-site medical clinics. We have advised clients on all aspects of group health plan compliance, including the Affordable Care Act, HIPAA, the Mental Health Parity Act, and the Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act.

Notably, our team has advised many companies on the legal requirements applicable to retiree medical and welfare benefits. We have also helped design and implement programs intended to reduce future retiree medical costs and liability and expense under FAS 106.

We routinely review agreements with employee benefit plan providers and strive to ensure that our client’s interests are protected in such agreements.


With assistance from  Kristi Gauthier,  Ed Hammond, Peter Domas and Bishop Bartoni, Kevin Hendrick and Nicole Tersigni successfully defended an insurance priority dispute, resulting in an extremely favorable judgment for firm client, United States Steel Corporation’s ERISA-governed Retiree Benefits Plan.  U. S. Steel Retirement Plan was joined as a third-party defendant in a pending dispute by a No-Fault Automobile Insurance carrier,  which had been sued by a healthcare service provider for unpaid patient attendant care fees.  The No-Fault Carrier claimed that the obligation to pay for these services under Michigan No-Fault law  fell to U. S. Steel Retirement Plan, which covered the patient (who was a former U. S. Steel employee).  Ed, Bishop, Kristi and Peter lent their expertise to Kevin and Nicole in interpreting alleged conflicting insurance priority provisions and explanations of benefits.  Kevin and Nicole crafted a legal argument that ultimately led to summary disposition in favor of U.S. Steel Plan, and against the No-Fault carrier, saving U.S. Steel Plan from payment of the healthcare fees, and also reimbursing U.S. Steel Plan for benefits it had earlier paid by mistake, out of priority.  As the No-Fault carrier had rejected the Case Evaluation award prior to the filing of cross motions for summary disposition, it also appears that attorney  fees are recoverable for our client.  Kristi and Ed on Employee Benefit law, Bishop on Michigan No-Fault law, and Pete on Health Care issues, proved to be unbeatable resources.

Newsletter Alerts
IRS Temporarily Relaxes Section 125 Cafeteria Plan Election Change and “Use It or Lose It” Rules in Response to COVID-19 PandemicCARES Act Permits Emergency Access to Retirement Funds for Employees Affected by COVID-19 Through Relaxed Participant Distributions and LoansIRS: High-Deductible Health Plans Can Cover COVID-19 Screening2020 Benefits LimitsIRS 2019 Required Amendments List Requires Individually Designed 401(k) and 403(b) Plans to be Amended by Dec. 31, 2021, for Hardship Distribution ChangesImportant Employer Considerations With Respect to Health Plan Opt-Out BenefitsIRS Adopts Final Regulations With Required and Optional Changes to Hardship Distribution Rules for 401(k) and 403(b) PlansDepartment of Labor Issues Final Association Retirement Plans RuleFederal District Court Rejects Trump Administration’s Proposal for Association Health Plans 2019 Benefits Limits and Recent Changes to 401(k) and Other Qualified Retirement PlansAffordable Care Act Held Unconstitutional – What’s Next?President Trump Announces Association Retirement Plans; DOL Publishes New ACA Notices2018 Benefits LimitsSupreme Court Unanimously Extends the "Church Plan" ERISA Exemption to Plans Originally Established by Non-Church AffiliatesDOL Extends Fiduciary Rule Effective Date for 60 DaysPresident Issues Executive Order Addressing Affordable Care Act RepealSome Small Employers May Reimburse Employees' Premium and Other Uninsured Medical ExpensesIRS Offers A Short Extension For Certain ACA ReportsIRS Taketh and Giveth: Plan Determination Letter Program Scaled Back, Remedial Amendment Period Extended“They’re Here!” – Department of Labor Issues Final ERISA Fiduciary and Conflict of Interest Regulations
Clark Hill PLC Receives National and Regional Rankings in the 2021 Edition of Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms”Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2021 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorneys Named to 2020 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising Stars List Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2020 “Leaders in their Field” by Chambers USAClark Hill Attorneys Named to DBusiness Magazine's 2020 Top Lawyers ListClark Hill Lawyers Named 2020 Leading LawyersBrad Oxford to Present Webinar on Retirement Plan Audits on October 1, 2019Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2019 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising StarsClark Hill Attorneys Named 2019 “Leaders in their Field” by Chambers USAClark Hill PLC Receives National and Regional Tier 1 Rankings in the 2019 Edition of Best Lawyers, “Best Law Firms” Sixty-Six Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2018 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising Stars143 Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2019 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorneys Named 2018 “Leaders in their Field” by Chambers USASixty-Seven Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2018 Leading LawyersClark Hill Attorneys Named to DBusiness Magazine's 2018 Top Lawyers ListClark Hill PLC Receives National and Regional Tier 1 Rankings in the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers, “Best Law Firms”Sixty-Six Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2017 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising StarsSeventy-Four Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorneys Named 2017 “Leaders in their Field” by Chambers USATwenty-Eight Clark Hill Attorneys Named to DBusiness Magazine's 2017 Top Lawyers ListClark Hill PLC Receives National Rankings in the 2017 Edition of U.S. News-Best Lawyers, “Best Law Firms”Sixty Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2016 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising StarsSixty-Four Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2017 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorneys to Present During the 2016 MCMCFC Spring Management Conference & Trade ShowClark Hill Attorneys Named 2016 “Leaders in their Field” by Chambers USATwenty-Six Clark Hill Attorneys Named to Pennsylvania Super Lawyers & Rising Stars 2016 List