René E. Thorne

René E. Thorne: Attorney with Jackson Lewis P.C.
  • Office Managing Principal and Office Litigation Manager at Jackson Lewis P.C. (861 Attorneys)
  • Poydras Center, 650 Poydras Street, Suite 1900, New Orleans, LA 70130
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Rene E. Thorne is a Principal and the Office Litigation Manager in the New Orleans, Louisiana, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice covers the full range of employee benefit litigation matters, including representation of employers, plans, plan fiduciaries, and trustees.

In that regard, she has handled numerous ERISA class actions for clients such as Nortel Networks, Target, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Owens Healthcare, United Airlines ESOP Committee, Dunbar Armored, United Companies, Benefits Administration Corporation, and Beverly Enterprises. Ms. Thorne also has handled benefits and employment matters for such clients as for Alcatel-Lucent, Raytheon, Pfizer, Omega Protein, The Hartford, Northwest Airlines, Amtrak, United Airlines, Turner Industries, Starwood Hotels, and Sempra Energy. Ms. Thorne has been retained as an expert in complex ERISA breach of fiduciary duty, prohibited transaction, and cash balance cases. Ms. Thorne has been qualified and testified as an expert on ERISA matters in federal court.

Ms. Thorne has been quoted in and authored several articles on ERISA issues including most recently, Conkright v. Frommert- One Year Later: Are Courts Getting It Right?, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (May 19, 2011); High Court Vacates CIGNA Pension Case; Sets Stage for Expanded ERISA Remedies, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (May 17, 2011); Employer Stock: Court Adopts DOL's Safe Harbor Reading, Affirms Ruling in Motorola ‘Stock-Drop' Case, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (January 26, 2011); Court Certifies Class Action of Pension Plans, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (August 6, 2010); Two Years Later: The Legacy Of Larue, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (March 10, 2010); Employer Stock Decisions Spike in 2009 After Rocky Economy Ignites Litigation, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (Dec. 21, 2009); Rising Tide of Complex ERISA Litigation Presents Myriad of Class Certification Issues, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (September 18, 2009); ERISA Plan Fiduciaries Take Aim at Each Other as Investment Losses Rise, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (Feb. 26, 2009); The Evolution and Future of the ERISA Stock-Drop Cases, Employment Law 360 (Jan. 2009); Year in Review: 2008 Proves to Be Eventful in Employee Benefits Litigation, BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter (Jan. 5, 2009).

Ms. Thorne is active on the Employee Benefits Subcommittee of the Labor and Employment Section of the American Bar Association, and was recently the Management Co-Chair of the Employee Benefits Subcommittee Newsletter. She is a member of and lecturer for the ABA/EEO Liaison Committee of the American Bar Association, a past instructor for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and a former Barrister in the Thomas More Inn of Court.

During the course of her national practice, she has been admitted pro hac vice in courts across the country, including Alabama, the District of Columbia, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

While attending Loyola University School of Law, Ms. Thorne was a member of the Loyola Law Review and Moot Court.

Pro Bono and Community Involvement

•New Orleans Pro Bono Project, Volunteer Attorney

Published Works

• ERISA Litigation Issues In The Face Of Bankruptcy, The College of Labor & Employer Lawyers Newsletter (Fall 2006)
• Unforeseen Pitfalls in Settling Fiduciary Breach Claims with Individual Plaintiffs, Employee Benefits Committee Newsletter (Spring 2006)
• ERISA Mutual Fund Litigation: Another Front In The Post-Enron 401(K) Plan Wars, Professional Liability Underwriting Society Journal (2004)
• ERISA Preemption: To Infinity and Beyond and Back Again? (A Historical Review of Supreme Court Jurisprudence), Vol. 58 Louisiana Law Review 997 (1998)
“When is Class Action Appropriate?” in ERISA Litigation (BNA 2d, 3d, and 4th ed., and 2006-2012 supps.) [Chapter Author]
Employee Benefits Law (2d ed. BNA 2000 and 3d ed. 2011) [Contributing Author]

Speeches and Presentations

•“ERISA Class Actions - Up Close and Personal: An In-Depth Look at the Myriad of Complex and Ever-Evolving Issues,” BNA Audio-conference
•“401(k) Plan Litigation: Employer Stock Suits Continue but Has Hecker v. Deere Changed the Fee Case Landscape?,” ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits
•“The Mist - Navigating the Fog of ERISA, LSU School of Law Labor and Employment Law Conference
•“The 401(k) & ESOP Employer Stock Cases: Cases and Issues,” Professional Liability Underwriting Society International Conference
•“ERISA Litigation as a Contact Sport,” Women’s Executive Legal Conference
•“Litigating the New Breed of ERISA Class Actions,” Glasser ERISA Litigation Conference
•“After Enron: Employer Stock in 401(k) Plans,” ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits
•“Recent Developments in Health Insurance Coverage of Contraceptives for Employees, ABA Taxation Section Employee Benefits Committee Meeting
•“ERISA Remedies After Great West - Are There Any?”
•“Employees in a Disaster: What to Do After Katrina,” ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits
•“Managing in a Crisis: Employment, Employee Benefits, and Insurance Law Issues for Employers Affected by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina,” American Petroleum Labor Lawyers Association

Honors and Recognitions

The Best Lawyers in America
•New Orleans Employment Law - Management, Lawyer of the Year (2012 and 2015)
•New Orleans Labor & Employment, Lawyer of the Year (2013)
•Law Dragon/Human Resource Executive, one of “The Most Powerful Employment Attorneys in America” (2011)

Blog Posts

Benefits Law Advisor
July 12, 2017

On July 10, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals announced that the full Court would re-hear a recent case concerning the applicable standard of review in an ERISA denial of benefits case - which is often outcome-determinative in favor of insurers and benefit plans. As we previously reported, in Ariana M. v.

By Patrick S. Richter and Rene E. Thorne

Benefits Law Advisor
Proving Loss Causation in Breach of Fiduciary Claims - The Split Widens
June 28, 2017

As a follow up to Heather Panick’s article below, please see my recent article in Bloomberg BNA Pension and Benefits Daily - Thorne Article... Continue Readi

By Rene E. Thorne

Employment Class and Collective Actions
June 5, 2017

Today, the Supreme Court handed a long-awaited victory to religiously affiliated organizations operating pension plans under ERISA’s “church plan” exemption.

By Rene E. Thorne and Charles F. Seemann III


June 7, 2017

Supreme Court Rules Pension Plans of Religiously Affiliated Organizations Exempt from ERISA

ERISA’s “church plan” exemption applies to pension plans maintained by church-affiliated organizations such as healthcare facilities, even if the plans were not established by a church, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unanimously, 8-0. Advocate Health Care Network et al. v. Stapleton et al., Nos. 16-74; 16-86; 16-258 (June 5, 2017). (...

January 31, 2017

President Trump Nominates Neil Gorsuch to U.S. Supreme Court

Ending months of speculation, President Donald Trump has nominated the Honorable Neil McGill Gorsuch to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.If confirmed by the Senate, Judge Gorsuch would bring more than 10 years of judicial experience to the position. Still, the Supreme Court is sui generis, different than any...

December 19, 2016

Class Action Trends Report Winter 2016

Our quarterly report discusses new developments in class action litigation and offers strategic guidance and tactical tips on how to defend such claims. This issue covers the following topics:Defending class discrimination claimsDisparate treatment vs. disparate impactThe legislationThe case lawPrevention pointer...

In the News

August 15, 2017

Jackson Lewis

Best Lawyers in America Honors Jackson Lewis Attorneys in Its 2018 Edition

WHITE PLAINS, NY (August 15, 2017) Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country’s preeminent workplace law firms, is pleased to announce 193 attorneys, were recognized in the 2018 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America, a publication that has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. The Best Lawyers lists are...

June 19, 2017

Jackson Lewis

Jackson Lewis Attorneys Named as Most Powerful Employment Attorneys in 2017

WHITE PLAINS, NY (June 19, 2017) Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country’s preeminent workplace law firms, congratulates Chairman Vincent A. Cino, along with Principals Neil Dishman, Maurice G. Jenkins, Rene E. Thorne and Richard F. Vitarelli, for landing on Human Resource Executive magazine’s “Most...

May 26, 2017

Jackson Lewis

Chambers USA Recognizes Jackson Lewis and Its Attorneys in 2017 Edition

WHITE PLAINS, NY (May 26, 2017) Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country’s preeminent workplace law firms, is pleased to announce the firm and 68 of its attorneys have been recognized in the 2017 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, a prestigious annual guide ranking the leading law firms in the U.S.The firm...



Preparing for 2018: The New ERISA Regulations for Disability Claims and Appeals

When April 27, 2017 - 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST

Credits:Continuing education credit was offered for the live broadcast of this seminar.
You cannot earn credit for watching the archived webinar.


Designer Defenses: What You Can Do Today to Prevent Benefits Litigation Tomorrow

When February 9, 2017 - 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST

Credits:Continuing education credit was offered for the live broadcast of this seminar.
You cannot earn credit for watching the archived webinar.


Designer Defenses: What You Can Do Today to Prevent Benefits Litigation Tomorrow

When October 6, 2016 - 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM CST

Credits:Continuing education credit was offered for the live broadcast of this seminar.
You cannot earn credit for watching the archived webinar.

Areas of Practice (7)

  • Class Actions and Complex Litigation
  • Employee Benefits
  • Airline and Airline Service Providers
  • Hospitality
  • Healthcare
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Technology

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
(504) 208-1755  Phone
(504) 208-1759  Fax
University Attended:
Loyola University, B.A., 1990
Law School Attended:
Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, J.D., 1993
Year of First admission:
2014, 1st Circuit Court of Appeals; 1994, Louisiana; 1995, Louisiana - E.D. La.; 1995, Louisiana - M.D. La.; 1995, Louisiana - W.D. La.; 2000, 5th Circuit Court of Appeals; 2017, U.S. Court of Appeals, DC Circuit; 2011, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals; 2013, Illinois - N.D. Ill.; 2016, 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals; 2016, Indiana - S.D. Ind.; 2016, Michigan - W.D. Mich.; 2005, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
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