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

Fiduciary Counsel

Our Employee Benefits team advises employers, trustees and pension funds on a range of fiduciary issues, such as their fiduciary duties, the common law of trusts, applicable federal tax statutes and regulations, and other relevant state and federal statutes and rules. This includes regularly advising clients regarding ERISA fiduciary duty provisions and the prohibited transaction rules of ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code.

Our firm is skilled in providing fiduciary ancillary services for public plans in highly regulated environments. Our experience includes analysis and compliance with Constitutional, statutory, and regulatory obligations, including initiating litigation (in discharge of fiduciary obligations) to enforce rights due to public pension plans. Our attorneys meet directly with legislators to discuss legislation that might affect public pension plans or impact the scope of fiduciary duties, as well as participate actively in drafting legislation and monitoring legislative activity.

A distinguishing characteristic of this practice is the combination of unique experience and extensive participation in complex litigation directly governed by the fiduciary obligations of the trustees of plans. Our firm also advises on outlining and developing investment policies which comport with the discharge of fiduciary obligations. Notably, we have represented the two Detroit pension systems in the historic Detroit bankruptcy. In this context, we advised the board of trustees at each step of the way on all action that effected their fiduciary obligations to the trust—an extraordinary undertaking implicating Constitutional matters and federal and state law.

We have also advised investment managers and advisors with respect to their fiduciary duties under federal and state law, including Department of Labor regulations and SEC regulations. We have revised the customer agreements of investment managers and advisors to comply with these requirements.

We also regularly assist employers with ensuring compliance with their duties under ERISA Section 408(b)(2) to evaluate and benchmark the fees paid to service providers, and to determine the reasonableness of such fees.

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
Important 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 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 Guidance
News
Clark Hill Attorneys Named to DBusiness Magazine's 2020 Top Lawyers ListBrad 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 PLC Receives National and Regional Tier 1 Rankings in the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers, “Best Law Firms”Clark Hill Attorneys Named to DBusiness Magazine's 2018 Top Lawyers ListSixty-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”