Articles on Pensions

Pension plan sponsors should be mindful of a new wave of class action lawsuits By Wesley Covert Employee Benefits, April 2019 In December 2018, class action ERISA lawsuits were filed against several large single-employer defined benefit plans. The suits focus on the calculation of joint and survivor annuities and/or early retirement benefits that are available in these plans.
In re pension reform litigation By Roland R. Cross & Elizabeth A. Tracy Education Law, October 2015 On May 8, 2015 the Supreme Court of Illinois unanimously found Public Act 98-599 to be unconstitutional and invalid.
Taxes and military pensions: The long and short of it By Mark E. Sullivan Family Law, August 2015 Author Mark Sullivan provides another installment in his discussion of the intricacies of military divorces.
Guard and Reserve pensions on the day of divorce: Part two By Mark E. Sullivan Family Law, June 2015 The second part of this look at the most common questions and answers regarding the pensions of National Guard and Reserve members.
1 comment (Most recent June 6, 2015)
Smith v. Aegon Companies Pension Plan: Enforceability of venue selection clauses By Nancy G. Ross & Samuel P. Myler Employee Benefits, December 2014 While some district courts, such as the Northern District of Illinois in Coleman v. Supervalu, Inc. Short Term Disability Program have agreed with plan participants that venue selection clauses are inconsistent with ERISA, the Sixth Circuit’s recent 2-1 decision in Smith v. Aegon Companies Pension Plan lends strong support for the prevailing view among the district courts that such clauses are enforceable.
Constitutional challenges made to the Pension Reform Act By Aaron B. Maduff Labor and Employment Law, October 2014 This article starts with a discussion of the state of the law prior to the Constitutional Convention of 1970 and what led to the addition of the Pension Protection Clause in the Illinois Constitution. It then proceeds to discuss the various challenges made to the law, and finally provides an update on the status of the suits, including the order of injunctive relief entered by the Court on May 14, 2014.
The “construction exemption” for contractor unfunded pension withdrawal liability By Stanley N. Wasser Construction Law, October 2014 A look at some of the basic concepts that must be understood for advising construction contractor clients whether the “construction exemption” will protect their client from unfunded pension withdrawal liability.
Co-owner or creditor? That is the question when dividing a marital public pension By Hon. Mark J. Lopez Family Law, August 2014 The Circuit Court of Cook County - Domestic Relations Division recently determined in a post-decree order that members of a public pension can be ordered to execute a consent to QILDRO.
Beware of drafting a division of a retirement plan in a Marital Settlement Agreement where there is a disability pension and a retirement pension component By Anne M. Martinkus Family Law, May 2014 The opinion in In Re Marriage of Carter v. Carter serves to remind us all of the importance of specificity and clarity in our drafting of Marital Settlement Agreements, and particularly in the complicated area of pension and retirement benefits.
Case summaries Local Government Law, May 2014 Recent cases of interest to local government law practitioners.
In other words, we told everybody to start over and do it right By Carolyn Welch Clifford Administrative Law, May 2014 A look at the four procedural lessons set forth in the recent Howe v. Retirement Board of the Firemen's Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago decision.
Case summaries By Rita Elsner, Sonni Choi Williams, & Matthew S. Dionne Local Government Law, April 2014 Recent cases of interest to local government law practitioners.
The pension conundrum delivers even more constitutionality issues as legislators are denied their pay By Tiffany Elking Government Lawyers, September 2013 On July 10, 2013, Governor Quinn used his line-item veto power on an appropriations bill, House Bill 214, to eliminate General Assembly members’ salaries, effectively vetoing legislator’s paychecks, until a pension reform bill is signed into law. In response, Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan have filed a joint lawsuit against Governor Quinn, challenging the constitutionality of his line-item veto.
Case update list Local Government Law, July 2013 Recent cases of interest to local government law attorneys.
Summary of Williams v. Board of Trustees of the Morton Grove Firefighters’ Pension Fund and the Village of Morton Grove (1st Dist. 2009) By Marc R. Poulos & Melissa Binetti Administrative Law, March 2010 The First District Appellate Court recently determined that a firefighter/paramedic was denied a fair and impartial hearing on his application for a disability pension, when a corporate attorney for the Village sitting on the Board acted as an advocate rather than as a disinterested decisionmaker
A felony does not always mean a forfeiture of pension benefits By John H. Brechin Local Government Law, September 2008 Romano v. Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago involved an appeal from the judgment of the Circuit Court of Cook County confirming a decision of the Board of Trustees of the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund, which found that as a consequence of his conviction of a felony, Romano forfeited all benefits he may have had as a participant in the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago.
The State of Illinois Retirement Systems: Funding history and reform proposals Employee Benefits, September 2008 As we go to press, Governor Blagojevich has called the legislature into special session to deal with the budget mess in Springfield. 
Pension funds vs. municipalities: Soon at a courthouse near you? By James E. Schrempf Local Government Law, August 2008 By now, most of us have probably seen the reports on the critical condition of Illinois’ public employee retirement funds. 
Disability pensions –What constitutes an act of duty? By John H. Brechin Local Government Law, June 2008 The recent case of Sarkis v. City of Des Plaines involved this very issue.
Wade: The Supreme Court’s final word on Section 3-115 of the Pension Code By Carlos S. Arévalo Local Government Law, June 2008 This article examines the conflicting interpretations of Section 3-115, namely whether physicians retained by a pension board must all agree and certify that the officer is disabled, or whether it requires that the physicians simply address the issue of the officer’s disability status in their certificates. Finally, this article addresses how the Supreme Court has resolved this conflict in its recent decision of Wade v. City of North Chicago Police Pension Board.
Rollover – We mean it! By Katarinna McBride Trusts and Estates, April 2008 On March 12, 2008 the House of Representatives passed a bill that corrected and clarified the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (“PPA”) as it relates to non-spouse beneficiaries of qualified plan participants (H.R. 3361).
Illinois Supreme Court puts an end to appellate courts’ varied interpretations of Pension Code Section 3-115 By Krysia W. Ressler Young Lawyers Division, February 2008 A police officer, while on duty, was escorting a handcuffed prisoner down an embankment when the prisoner stumbled and caused that police officer to fall and injure his right knee.
Case note By John H. Brechin Local Government Law, December 2006 Hammond v. Firefighters Pension Fund, No. 2-06-0133 and 2-06-0187 November 29, 2006 The Second District Appellate Court recently reviewed the decision of the Defendant Board to award the Plaintiff a non-duty disability pension and to deny him a line of duty disability pension.
Key provisions of HR 4: Pension Protection Act of 2006 By Sal L. Tripodi & Teresa T. Bloom Employee Benefits, September 2006 On August 3, 2006, the Senate passed HR 4, the Pension Protection Act of 2006, by a vote of 93 to 5.
New laws change Fire Pension Fund Board membership and firefighter pension contribution requirement By Michael T. Jurusik Local Government Law, February 2006 A recent amendment to the Illinois Pension Code (Public Act 94-0317) has made drastic changes to the longtime membership of Illinois firefighter pension fund boards.
The elusive concept of “special risk” in relation to line of duty pension benefits for police officers By Jenette M. Schwemler Local Government Law, October 2005 This article summarizes the evolution of the definitions of “act of duty” and “special risk” and how the courts apply those concepts in reviewing awards and denials of line of duty benefits.
Governor signs Pension Reform Bill By Michael J. Hernandez Education Law, June 2005 The Governor has signed Senate Bill 27 into law. Among other things, SB 27 extends the teachers' Early Retirement Option (ERO).
U.S. Supreme Court finds change in early retirement entitlement under pension plan violated ERISA’s “Anti-Cutback” rule By Andrew B. Cripe Young Lawyers Division, August 2004 In Central Laborers' Pension Fund v. Heinz, the U.S. Supreme Court found that a multi-employer pension fund violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) by changing the rules for when employees would be eligible for early retirement benefits.
Employee benefits tax update: Pension plan underfunding issues By Thomas Vasiljevich Federal Taxation, June 2004 Declining plan asset values caused by negative market returns, low interest rates and poor economic conditions have all contributed to the current defined benefit pension plan "crisis."
The twelve worst mistakes in preparing pension orders Elder Law, November 1999 This is adapted from Divorce: A Time for Caution, An Introduction to the 12 Worst Mistakes Lawyers Make in Preparing Pension Orders, by WISER (Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement), 1201 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Suite 619, Washington, DC 20004.

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