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 pertaining to medical and disability benefits, and also through ERISA reporting and disclosure, multiemployer plan contributions withdrawal liability issues, and COBRA and 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), 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 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).

Experience

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
Department of Labor Issues Final Association Retirement Plans RuleFederal District Court Rejects Trump Administration’s Proposal for Association Health Plans Affordable Care Act Held Unconstitutional – What’s Next?2019 Benefits Limits and Recent Changes to 401(k) and Other Qualified Retirement PlansPresident 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 RegulationsSome Small Employers May Have Reporting Obligations Under the Affordable Care ActHealth Coverage Providers: Deadlines for Health Coverage Providers to Report Minimum Essential Coverage are Approaching Supreme Court Reaffirms Limits on Benefit Plan Subrogation ClaimsWisconsin Court Rules Wellness Program Not a Violation of the ADAIRS Announces Short Extension in Affordable Care Act ReportingCadillac Tax Delayed Until 2020 Under New Spending BillThe Impact of the Obergefell Decision on Employer Health and Welfare Benefits Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the "Cadillac" Health Plan TaxEEOC to Issue Proposed Rule on the Impact of the ADA on Wellness ProgramsDOL Issues Much-Anticipated Fiduciary Definition and Conflicts of Interest RuleDOL Final Rule Provides Flexibility on Annual Participant Fee Disclosure RequirementsIRS Issues Transitional Relief for Certain Employers Sponsoring Employer Payment Plans2015 Benefits Limits - Multiemployer Pension Reform Signed Into LawEEOC Sues Employers Over Wellness Programs, Despite Lack of GuidanceEmployers Prohibited From Reimbursing Individual Plan Premiums Even On An After-Tax BasisHealth Plan Identifier (HPID) Requirement Delayed Indefinitely by HHSFinal Regulations Issued on Excepted Benefits
News
Clark 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 ListSixty-Six Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for the 2015 Super Lawyers Business EditionTwenty-Eight Clark Hill Attorneys Named to DBusiness Magazine's 2016 Top Lawyers ListClark Hill PLC Receives National Tier 1 Ranking for Litigation – Construction in the 2016 Edition of U.S. News-Best Lawyers, “Best Law Firms”Clark Hill Attorney Kristi R. Gauthier will Present to the Arizona Chapter for the Association of Corporate Counsel on the Impact of the Affordable Care ActClark Hill Attorney Kristi Gauthier will Present on Wellness Program Compliance for the Arizona Small Business AssociationClark Hill Continues to Grow Phoenix Office with the Addition of Arizona Employee Benefits Attorney Kristi R. Gauthier