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Employee BenefitsThe newsletter of the ISBA’s Section on Employee Benefits

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Newsletter articles from 2004

Editor’s note By Margaret M. Benson September 2004 Although Labor Day is not yet upon us as we go to press, several employee benefits attorneys have written articles that allow us to meet the deadlines for a September issue.
Federal caselaw update By David R. Shannon December 2004 Six weeks after taking early retirement, and after he had been assured by his employer that there would be no special separation packages offered to departing employees, ComEd offered a special separation package to certain employees.
Federal Legislative Report-May 31, 2004 June 2004 Allows the U.S. Department of Defense to pay the COBRA premiums of certain military reservists called to active duty, and their dependents.
Garnishments of participant’s account in ERISA qualified plan to collect a federal criminal fine is not prohibited by the anti-alienation provision By Leasa J. Baugher September 2004 On July 23, 2003, the Internal Revenue Service issued a private letter ruling deciding that a court order permitting the garnishment of the individual's 401(k) plan account balance to satisfy the individual's fine in a criminal case would not violate IRC § 401(a)(13).
Health Savings Accounts: Are they ERISA-covered plans? By Raelene LaPlante June 2004 New federal legislation offers potential benefits to both individuals and employers in the form of health savings accounts ("HSAs").
International Union of United Auto., Aerospace and Agric. Implement Workers of America v. Rockford Powertrain, Inc.: The Seventh Circuit determines that “lifetime” welfare benefits to retirees are subject to termination under a reservation of rights provision in a plan By Greg Madden May 2004 Seventh Circuit issued its decision in International Union of United Auto., Aerospace and Agric. Implement Workers of America v. Rockford Powertrain, Inc., 350 F.3d 698 (7th Cir. 2003), in which the Seventh Circuit addressed whether a district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of an employer on the issue of whether the employer was contractually obligated to maintain retirement benefits for the life of its retirees and their surviving spouses.
The mutual fund scandals and your retirement plans By Ned Othman June 2004 Daily news reports headline that federal and state law enforcement officials, including New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, are investigating trading practices at a number of the nation's leading mutual fund companies.
Noisy withdrawal and its implications for the employee benefits lawyer By Julie A. Govreau May 2004 In response to the scandals that shook the foundations of the corporate world and severely compromised public confidence in the private sector, Congress in 2002 passed The American Competitiveness and Corporate Accountability Act of 2002, better known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
A note from the editor By Margaret M. Benson May 2004 This is our sixth issue of the Employee Benefits newsletter this year and it runs the gamut from the anti-cutback rule to "noisy withdrawal."
A note from the editor February 2004 I am pleased to present in this issue the second of a two-part series on Rev. Proc. 2003-44, written by our Chair, Katie Kennedy.
Postmortem QDROs-May benefits be divided after death? By William L. Scogland and Mark A. Berggen June 2004 Issues regarding the qualification of postmortem domestic relations orders ("DROs") continue to exist as a unified approach among the United States Circuit Courts of Appeals has yet to be made clear to benefit law practitioners.
QDRO processing costs can be allocated to individual accounts By Michael Todd Scott June 2004 On May 19, 2003, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued Field Assistance Bulletin 2003-3 to address the allocation of certain defined contribution plan expenses among participant accounts.
Recap of 2004 guidance on Health Savings Accounts By Jennifer Walton December 2004 Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) were created in the Medicare bill signed on December 8, 2002 by President Bush and outlined in his State of the Union speech.
Rev. Proc. 2003-44: A brand new tomorrow for correcting disqualifying failures* By Kathryn J. Kennedy February 2004 The Service's recently released Rev. Proc. 2003-44 is a welcome addition for employee benefits practitioners and for plan sponsors of qualified retirement and profit-sharing plans.
Rev. Proc. 2003-44: A brand new tomorrow for correcting disqualifying failures* By Kathryn J. Kennedy January 2004 The Service's recently released Rev. Proc. 2003-44 is a welcome addition for employee benefits practitioners and for plan sponsors of qualified retirement and profit sharing plans.
Saying goodbye to a successful year By Kathryn J. Kennedy June 2004 At the ISBA Annual Meeting in June 2004, it was my pleasure to hand off the leadership of the Employee Benefits Section Council to its new chair, Lori Cowdrey.
Significant changes ahead for deferred compensation plans: An overview of the deferred compensation provisions under the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 December 2004 President Bush recently signed into law new legislation that will substantially affect all nonqualified deferred compensation plans and employment agreements that include deferral arrangements, and may also affect other forms of compensation.
Summary of Council Minutes of meeting of June 18, 2004 September 2004 • Recognized and thanked Immediate Past Chair, Kathryn J. Kennedy, for leading Section through highly productive 2003-2004 Bar year.
Summary of recent federal cases By Teresa Faherty Blomquist May 2004 1. ADEA gives age discrimination reprieve. Follow-up to Erie County Retirees Association v. Erie County, 3d Cir., No. 99-3877, 8/1/00.
Supreme Court finds that HMO employee benefit plan eligibility decisions are governed by ERISA and therefore not subject to claims under state health care liability laws By William L. Scogland and Galen Mason September 2004 In Aetna Health Inc. v. Davila and CIGNA Health Care, Inc. v. Calad, the Supreme Court ruled that patients cannot use state health care liability laws to sue health maintenance organizations (HMOs) for claims relating to an HMO's interpretation of an employer-provided benefit plan.