Practice Areas & Industries: Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP


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Practice/Industry Group Overview

Our extensive ERISA expertise, combined with our litigation and trial experience, provides our ERISA Litigation practice with nationwide impact. This dynamic and ever- evolving practice group is comprised of lawyers possessing experience in a wide variety of litigation and administrative proceedings involving employee benefit plans. We regularly represent employers as plan sponsors and plan administrators in both routine and complex employee benefits litigation. In addition to litigating employee benefits matters, we counsel large and small companies and fiduciaries both in anticipation of litigation regarding employee benefits issues and in dealing with regulatory agencies.

Our litigation capabilities are enhanced by our firm’s broad experience with retirement and welfare benefit plans, administrative service contracts, and plan administration. Due to our strong labor relations practice, we hold significant experience in negotiating benefits claims (including plant closure benefits), controversies regarding multi-employer plan issues and contributions, and litigation and NLRB charges relating to benefits. We have successfully defended equal employment claims, including claims of benefits discrimination under the ADA and ADEA.

The following types of matters handled by members of our ERISA Litigation Group demonstrate our depth of experience and the complexity and range of issues that we litigate. These are critical factors in selecting counsel for benefits litigation and for advice in litigation-sensitive matters.

  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty Cases
  • Benefits Claims Cases
  • ERISA §510 Interference with Benefits Cases
  • Litigation over Changes to Retiree Medical Benefits
  • Litigation with Government Agencies
  • Cases Alleging Failure to Comply with the Reporting and Disclosure Requirements of ERISA
  • MPPAA Withdrawal Liability Cases
  • Multi-employer Plans Contribution Cases
  • ESOP-related litigation
  • Subrogation Cases

Benefits Representative Matters

Counseled numerous clients regarding obligations under new Internal Revenue Code Section 409A deferred compensation plan rules, including restructuring executive compensation and severance arrangements as well as employment agreements to satisfy the complex rules.

Advised clients regarding required and optional changes to qualified plans as a result of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, including significant new funding requirements for defined benefit plans and required and optional changes for 401(k) and other defined contribution plans.

Counseled companies (including publicly traded, closely held, tax-exempt and governmental employers) regarding retirement plans, executive compensation programs, and fringe and welfare benefit issues with a specific focus on the issues specific to the compliance, recruiting and retention issues facing each company.

Recently restructured retirement program to better match client’s recruiting and retention goals, including freezing of benefits under company’s defined benefit pension plan and enhancing defined contribution plan.

Assisted clients through merger and divestiture processes, including preparing and implementing new benefit plans for resulting companies for all types of benefit programs.