401(k) Fiduciary Duties: Continuum of AmbiguitiesBy Melissa CaldwellJune 2009401(k) revenue sharing and plan fiduciary duty litigation is becoming a complex area of law. With an increasing number of claims alleging breach of fiduciary duties and fee disclosure, employers and plan sponsors are looking for direction in this confusing area of ERISA law.
Abandoned retirement plansBy Douglas A. DarchMarch 2009As the recession has worsened, many employers are simply closing their doors and walking away from their obligations. The frequent result of a “walk-away” is that the benefit plan is abandoned. An abandoned Plan loosely defined is a plan which no longer has a “responsible” plan sponsor or plan administrator.
The Efficient Market Hypothesis and ERISASeptember 2009EMH holds that the price of a stock incorporates all publicly available information about the company; it follows that plan fiduciaries are entitled to rely on that valuation and are not required to second-guess the market.
Executive bonusesBy Douglas A. DarchDecember 2009When an executive leaves her position midway through the performance measurement period for an annual bonus, is she entitled to a pro-rata share of the annual bonus?
FOIA requests—DOLSeptember 2009If you or your client needs a copy of the Form 5500 filed by a welfare plan or a pension plan it is better to go to the source. At <www.dol.gov/dol/foia> you will find instructions for making a FOIA request.
Patient Advocacy: A new benefit to aid in healthcare navigationBy Laura L. PautzMarch 2009It does not take a specialty in employee benefits to realize the healthcare system can be difficult to navigate. A new profession known as health advocacy is forming to aid the population and to advocate access to healthcare.
Privacy: Social Security numbersSeptember 2009ERISA has a little-known privacy provision in Section 106(b) which restricts the disclosure of certain information about participants.
The stimulus bill’s effect on COBRA administrationBy Derek A. SchryerJune 2009On February 19, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “Act”). The legislation provides for government-subsidized COBRA premiums to involuntarily terminated employees for up to nine months. Both employer sand employees should become familiar with the changes created by this Act.
Taxation of employment-related settlement paymentsBy Elizabeth Erickson & Ira B. MirskyDecember 2009In an internal memorandum dated October 22, 2008, but released only in July of this year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office of Chief Counsel has outlined information necessary to determine the correct tax treatment of employment-related settlement payments.