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.
Employee Benefits/ERISA & Compliance
Clark Hill’s Employee Benefits team is valued for cutting through the complex challenges associated with employee benefits matters. We are dedicated to providing every client with solutions that are clear, understandable, and actionable. Our experience in resolving complicated benefits matters is proven; we know the ropes in every area of benefits law. Our attorneys consistently deliver solutions that are practical for rates that are competitive and, most importantly, predictable.
Our clients include employers of all kinds located across the country, such as middle market and Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and pension funds, and not-for-profit organizations, including educational institutions, community organizations, and charitable organizations. Responsive to client needs at every turn, our team is appreciated for responding to difficult questions with no clear answer in a thoughtful, cogent manner.
Our benefits practice combines a deep bench of knowledge and decades of experience in ERISA and state employee benefits law. As employee benefits issues overlap with practically every other legal discipline at the firm, we blend our multi-dimensional understanding of plan design and administration, multiemployer plans, benefit claims, and fiduciary duty with the firm’s honed skills in labor and employment, tax, trusts, insurance, litigation, and appellate law to deliver an integrated approach to serving clients.
Our benefits team advises on plan design and administration, including qualified retirement, pension, welfare, and fringe benefit plans. We guide employers through litigation, resolving serious claims on medical and disability benefits, and also through the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) reporting and disclosure, multiemployer plan contributions withdrawal liability issues, and Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) issues. We also advise on the pension and benefit plan issues that permeate mergers and acquisitions and all other types of commercial transactions. Notably, we deliver substantial experience and skill in dealing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).
Our team also advises on the benefits aspects of executive compensation, including non-qualified deferred and incentive compensation, stock option plans, phantom stock plans, and supplemental executive retirement plans (SERPs). We assist clients in addressing the many issues particular to governmental entities and tax-exempt organizations, including 403(b) plans, 457(b) plans, 457(f) plans, excess compensation, and intermediate sanction rules. Furthermore, we assist closely held businesses through succession planning and transitioning ownership to the next generation, including the formation of Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs).