Joshua Bachrach: Lawyer with Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP

Joshua Bachrach


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AV® Preeminent

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Practice Areas

  • Appellate
  • Life, Health, Disability & ERISA
Contact InfoTelephone: 215.606.3906
Fax: 215.627.2665
University Temple University, B.A., 1986
Law SchoolWidener University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1993
Admitted1993, Pennsylvania and New Jersey; U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Pennsylvania; U.S. District Court, District of Colorado; U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan; U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska; U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey; U.S. District Court, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Districts of New York; U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota; U.S. Court of Appeals, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits; U.S. Supreme Court

Memberships & Affiliations

American Bar Association
Defense Research Institute (DRI)


Joshua Bachrach represents clients in state and federal courts throughout the United States in litigation involving ERISA and non-ERISA disputes over disability, life and health coverage as well as disputes over pension benefits. Josh also represents insurers in coverage and bad faith litigation. He is a frequent speaker at national seminars on ERISA-related subjects and has written numerous articles on ERISA and related topics.
Josh is regarded as a valuable resource based on his knowledge of ERISA, life, health and disability law as well as his appellate work. He is often engaged nationally in litigation matters and he is frequently consulted to evaluate issues prior to the commencement of litigation. Josh has personally handled several hundred ERISA cases nationally.

Areas of Focus

Josh has argued appeals before nearly all of the U.S. Courts of Appeals as well as the Supreme Court of Alaska and Pennsylvania appellate courts.
Life, Health, Disability & ERISA
Josh is national counsel for several major disability and life insurers. In that capacity he represents clients in all phases of litigation throughout the United States. In addition, he consults with clients on issues involving claim administration and plan language. Josh also provides representation and advice to self-funded employee benefit plans.


De Facto Plan Administrator Claims in the First Circuit

De Facto Plan Administrator Claims in the First Circuit

July 10, 2014

The term administrator is defined in the ERISA statute as the person specifically so designated by the terms of the instrument under which the plan is operated. If no one is named plan administrator, it is deemed to be the plan sponsor, which is usually the employer. Based on the specific definition of the term administrator, nearly every circuit has refused to recognize de facto plan administrators.

Ninth Circuit Refuses to Recognize ERISA Plan's Right to Recover Overpayment of LTD Benefits

Ninth Circuit on Recovery of LTD Benefit Overpayment

February 26, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision not to hear a petition for a writ of certiorari in a case in which the Ninth Circuit refused to recognize an ERISA plan's right to recover an overpayment of long-term disability benefits consistent with the terms of the applicable policy could cast serious doubts on a carrier's ability to recover such overpayments, at least in certain circumstances, particularly in the Ninth Circuit.

Comprehensive Analysis of the Ninth Circuit's Application of the Standards of Review under ERISA

Application of the Standards of Review under ERISA

December 2012

standards of review for courts within the Ninth Circuit in matters governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. In focusing on the opinions issued by district courts, the monograph gives insight into the type of evidence and the arguments that generally succeed, as well as the arguments that should be avoided.

A Comprehensive Analysis of the Ninth Circuit's Application of the Standards of Review Under ERISA

June 2012

ERISA Survey of Federal Courts

ABA Publishing

2012 Edition

Life, Health, Disability & ERISA Newsletter

Insurance Fraud & Group Policy Limitations

February 2010

This Life, Health, Disability & ERISA Newsletter discusses insurance fraud, important ERISA holdings, new California law on group policy, and more.

Eighth Circuit concludes that decision in Abram v. Cargill, Inc. does not apply under new ERISA regulations

April 2009

In Midgett v. Washington Group Int'l Long Term Disability Plan, __ F.3d __, 2009 WL 996682 (8th Cir. April 15, 2009), the Eighth Circuit considered the amended ERISA claim regulations in deciding whether a claimant received a full and fair review of the denial of benefits. The court ultimately agreed with the Tenth and Eleventh Circuits and concluded that a plan is under no obligation to provide a claimant with copies of reports obtained during the appeal so they may comment on them prior to a final decision.

Additional Publications

ERISA Disability Policies in California and Beyond: The Future of Discretionary Clauses, For The Defense, DRI, February 2006


Disability Insurance Law Update


May 1, 2014

DRI's Life, Health, Disability & ERISA Seminar

Legal versus Factual Disabilities and the Risk of Relapse as Disabling Conditions

Speaking Engagements

January 2011

37th Annual ABA-TIPS Midwinter Symposium on Insurance and Employee Benefits

Additional Events

ERISA Survey of the Federal Circuits: A Practitioner's Guide to Emerging Issues, ABA Annual Meeting (August 2010)
Attorney's Fees Under ERISA After the Supreme Court's Decision in Hardt v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., ABA-TIPS Teleconference (July 2010)
Supreme Court Update on ERISA Issues, ABA Joint Committee of Employee Benefits (July 2010)
Unique Strategies for Recurring Issues in the ERISA Claim Process, DRI Life, Health, Disability and ERISA Claims Seminar (April 2010)
The Ins and Outs of Plan Amendment and Vesting, DRI Life, Health, Disability and ERISA Claims Seminar (April 2010)
Fundamentals and Current Issues of Fiduciary Duty Litigation, DRI Life, Health, Disability and ERISA Claims Seminar (April 2010)
The Obama Administration's Impact on ERISA and Health & Disability Insurance, 36th Annual ABA-TIPS Midwinter Symposium on Issues Relating to Life, Health & Disability Insurance, Insurance Regulation, and Employee Benefits and Reinsurance (January 2010)
MythBusters: Responding to Common Plaintiff's Arguments, DRI Life, Health, Disability and ERISA Claims Seminar (April 2009)


Insurance Law Daily Covers Case Involving Wilson Elser's Insurer-Client Represented by Joshua Bachrach
July 29, 2014

Awards & Distinctions

Selected for inclusion in Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, 2011
Former editor-in-chief of the ABA-TIPS Law Journal
Former chair of the Health and Disability Law Committee of the ABA TIPS Section

Reported CasesRepresentative Matters: Bauer v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co., 421 Fed. Appx. 226 (3d Cir. 2011). Upholding the plan's interpretation against the claimant's argument that she was owed an additional $1,250,000 in benefits. Samuelson v. Covenant Healthcare Sys. , 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125419 ( E.D. Mich. Oct. 31, 2011). Upholding the long-term disability plan's offset for retirement benefits. Boyle v. Genworth Life & Health Ins. Co. , 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74885 (W.D.N.Y. July 7, 2011). Entering judgment in favor of defendant and concluding that New York insurance law, which limited the preexisting conditions exclusion to the first 12 months of the claim, did not apply since the policy was delivered in another state. Est. of Hinkle v. Assurant Employee Benefits , 390 Fed. Appx. 105 (3d Cir. 2010). Affirming on appeal summary judgment in favor of the client in an accidental death claim in which the insured died due to a surgical mishap. Balmert v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co ., 601 F.3d 497 (6th Cir. 2010). Rejecting the claimant's procedural arguments based on her failure to request a copy of the administrative record while her appeal was pending and concluding that the defendant did not abuse its discretion based on the diverging medical opinions. Gunn v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co ., 399 Fed. Appx. 147 (9th Cir. 2010). Obtained reversal of summary judgment for the claimant in an ERISA long-term disability case. The appellate court further entered judgment in favor of the defendant on the benefit claim. Gagliano v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co ., 547 F.3d 230 (4th Cir. 2008). Obtained reversal of the district court decision to award benefits based on a procedural violation. Mohnkern v. Professional Ins. Co ., 542 F.3d 157 (6th Cir. 2008). In a separate lawsuit, a court-appointed receiver obtained an order requiring the insurer to pay the life insurance proceeds to an escrow company. An appellate court later decided that the claimant was entitled to the proceeds and she then filed this lawsuit seeking fees and interest under state law based on the insurer's delay in paying benefits to her. The court rejected the claim, stating that to award fees would penalize the insurer for following a court order. Fujitsu Ten Corp. v. Visteon , 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86094 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 21, 2007). Coordination of benefits dispute between two health plans over which one was responsible for paying the health claims.

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Seller Beware: Eighth Circuit Finds Insurer Potentially Liable for Enrollment Mistakes of Employer
Joshua Bachrach, March 5, 2015
In Silva v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 762 F.3d 711 (8th Cir. 2014), the Eighth Circuit joined a number of other circuits in recognizing equitable remedies of reformation and surcharge based on a breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA. The claim for supplemental life insurance benefits...

De Facto Plan Administrator Claims in the First Circuit
Joshua Bachrach, July 17, 2014
According to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(c)(1)(B) of ERISA, it is within a court’s discretion to award a penalty of up to $110 per day based on an administrator’s failure to comply with a plan participant’s or beneficiary’s request for plan documents. Citing to Law v. Ernst &...

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Office Information

Joshua Bachrach

Independence Square West, Suite 1130 East
PhiladelphiaPA 19106-3308


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