Ninth Circuit Reverses Long-Standing Precedent, Finds ERISA Claims Can Be Arbitrated

The Ninth Circuit’s recent decision forcing a 401(k) plan mismanagement lawsuit into arbitration is a significant ruling for plan sponsors. But it also leaves lingering questions about the enforceability of arbitration clauses written into plan documents. See Dorman v. Charles Schwab Corp., No. 18-15281, 2019 WL 3939644 (9th. Cir. Aug. 20, 2019).

Dorman is a putative class action involving allegations that the Schwab defendants breached their fiduciary duties by including Schwab-affiliated investment alternatives in its 401(k) plan, despite the funds’ alleged poor investment returns. Dorman, a former plan participant, sought monetary and other equitable relief on behalf of the plan under ERISA §§ 502(a)(2) and (a)(3). Schwab’s plan document included a mandatory arbitration provision for claims related to the plan and a waiver of class action lawsuits. Schwab filed a motion to compel arbitration, which was denied by the Northern District of California.

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ERISA at 45: Anticipated Legislative & Regulatory Developments

In this series premiere, Brad Campbell and Sarah Bassler Millar discuss the evolution of ERISA over the last 45 years, efforts at the Federal and State levels to increase participation in retirement savings plans, potential changes in legislation and what to expect from regulatory agencies in the coming years.

Visitors can also download the podcast

Benefits and Breakfast: Latest Developments in Welfare Plans

Missed last month’s Benefits & Breakfast meeting on the latest developments in welfare plans in Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia? We have you covered!

Listen to recordings for each meeting, where we covered the following topics:

  • New Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) Regulations – Will a standalone HRA work for you?
  • Recent Welfare Plan Litigation – Are you prepared to defend a lawsuit based on your current plan documentation and procedures?
  • Privacy – Are changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule in the future? Will new California privacy rules affect you?
  • Health Plan Executive Order – What is coming for HSAs, FSAs, and health care price transparency initiatives?

Recordings: Chicago | Los Angeles | Philadelphia

DOL’s Final Rule on Association Retirement Plans: What It Means for the Retirement Industry

The DOL’s newly released final regulation on “Association Retirement Plans” (ARPs) will make it easier for groups and associations of employers to jointly sponsor a combined 401(k) or other defined contribution plan. (These plans are also referred to as multiple employer plans or “MEPs.”) In recent years, there has been a push to permit service providers to create “Open MEPs,” which are plans of unrelated employers having no business connection, or what the DOL refers to as “commonality” (i.e., a relationship unrelated to employee benefits). The hope is that these plans will provide small businesses with a cost-efficient and minimally burdensome avenue for offering retirement savings opportunities to workers.

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