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 Benefits/ERISA & Compliance


Clark Hill’s employee benefits team combines knowledge and experience in ERISA and state-law employee benefits issues with skills honed in a variety of related practice areas. This diverse team of attorneys and professionals combines their labor & employment, taxation, trusts, insurance, commercial litigation and appellate practice with their knowledge of plan design and administration, multiemployer plans, benefit claims and fiduciary duty issues to provide an integrated approach to serving the full range of our clients’ employee benefit needs. Our attorneys are all active members of the industry and bar association groups that deal with employee benefits matters and have authored many articles, webinars and other presentations in the benefits area. We have substantial experience in dealing with the IRS, Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.


Clark Hill’s employee benefits team of attorneys counsel businesses, governmental entities and individual clients regarding a full range of benefits issues. Our full line of employee benefits services include:

  • Drafting and implementation of plans
  • Preparation of IRS, Department of Labor and PBGC filings
  • Assistance with IRS, Department of Labor and PBGC plan audits
  • Qualified plan correction program compliance

QUALIFIED RETIREMENT AND PENSION PLANS. We deal with all types of tax-qualified plans, including profit sharing, defined benefit, 401(k) and 403(b) plans, money purchase, employee stock ownership (ESOP), multiemployer and multiple employer plans, and state and local government pension plans. Our attorneys frequently assist sponsors of pooled securities, real estate, and venture capital investments in complying with ERISA when they have pension fund investors. We have represented financial institutions in the design and maintenance of “master” retirement plans and IRA programs. Clark Hill attorneys have successfully resolved significant Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor investigations and audits of alleged violations of ERISA and the Code.

WELFARE AND FRINGE BENEFITS PLANS. Our experience regarding welfare and fringe benefit plans includes cafeteria plans, COBRA compliance, flexible spending accounts, HRAs, 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, VEBAs, group health plans and disability plans. We have advised clients concerning compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Mental Health Parity Act, and the Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act. Our attorneys have advised many companies on the legal requirements applicable to retiree medical and other welfare benefits, and have helped design and implement programs intended to reduce future retiree medical costs and liability and expense under FAS 106.


A substantial portion of our practice involves the pension and benefit plan aspects of business transactions such as mergers and acquisitions, counseling lenders on the employee on the employee benefit plan risks of their borrowers, and dealing with matters involving the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

GOVERNMENT AND TAX EXEMPT ORGANIZATION PLANS. Our attorneys are experienced in dealing with issues particular to governmental entities and tax-exempt organizations, including 403(b) plans, 457(b) plans, 457(f) plans and intermediate sanction rules.

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION. Our attorneys represent and counsel clients regarding all areas of executive compensation, including non-qualified deferred compensation and incentive compensation, stock option plans, phantom stock plans and SERPs.


Clark Hill attorneys represent employers, fiduciaries, insurers and third party administrators regarding all manner of claims before federal and state trial and appellate courts and administrative agencies. Our litigation experience includes defending claims in the following areas:

  • Medical benefits claims
  • Disability benefits claims
  • Breach of fiduciary duty claims
  • Discrimination claims
  • ERISA reporting and disclosure claims
  • Multiemployer plan contribution claims
  • Withdrawal liability claims

Combining their plan design and administration, and litigation skills and experience, our attorneys also counsel employers and fiduciaries on methods for avoiding adverse claims. When matters reach the litigation stage, Clark Hill attorneys are experienced in handling claims both under ERISA and, where ERISA is inapplicable, under pertinent state laws.

For more information on our ERISA Litigation services, click here.


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
Federal 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 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 PlansEEOC Sues Employers Over Wellness Programs, Despite Lack of Guidance2015 Benefits Limits - Multiemployer Pension Reform Signed Into LawEmployers Prohibited From Reimbursing Individual Plan Premiums Even On An After-Tax BasisHealth Plan Identifier (HPID) Requirement Delayed Indefinitely by HHSFinal Regulations Issued on Excepted BenefitsContradictory Court Rulings on Tax Credits for PPACA Federal Exchanges
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