The filing of excessive fee litigation against plan fiduciaries is nothing new. However, according to a recent white paper, this type of litigation has entered a dangerous new phase, characterized by both heightened frequency and severity and affecting companies of all sizes. In this new phase, the risk of litigation has, according to the report, reached “unprecedented levels.” A copy of the report, written by Allison Barrett and Joel Townsend of AIG and entitled “Fiduciary Liability Insurance: Understanding the Rapid Rise of Excessive Fee Claims,” can be found here.
Continue Reading A New Wave of Excessive Fee Fiduciary Liability Litigation

paul-weiss-large-300x53In the settlement documents prepared in connection with securities class action settlements, the documents typically specify that certain groups are excluded from the settlement class. Among the groups typically excluded are “affiliates” of the class action defendant company. In a recent decision (here), the Second Circuit examined the question whether an ERISA-regulated benefit plan that the defendant company sponsors is an “affiliate” of the company and therefore precluded from sharing in the settlement proceeds. In the following guest post, members of the Paul Weiss law firm take a look at the Second Circuit’s decision and discuss its implications. I would like to thank the Paul Weiss attorneys for their willingness to publish their article on my site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible parties on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if would like to submit a guest post. Here is the Paul Weiss attorney’s guest post.
Continue Reading Guest Post: ERISA-Regulated Benefit Plans Not “Affiliates” for Securities Class Settlement Purposes

As part of our beat here at The D&O Diaryfilings2016, we regularly monitor new lawsuit filings and try to identify trends and patterns. Over the years, we have noted and commented on this blog about many of the trends and patterns we have identified. More than once we have noted the incidence of director and officer liability litigation arising out of environmental issues. We have also noted that D&O litigation often follows after the announcement of FCPA investigations. As discussed below, there has been a flurry of recent filings involving environmental issues. I have also noted below an interesting variant on the FCPA follow-on civil lawsuit pattern.
Continue Reading Field Notes on Recent Corporate Suit Filing Trends

daveandbustersThe Affordable Care Act – better known as Obamacare – contains numerous provisions that define the relationships between employers and their employees with respect to health care benefits. Among the most critical are the statute’s employer mandates requiring employers with more than 50 employees to offer health insurance coverage to its employees who work 30 hours or more a week or face statutory penalties. As I have previously noted in discussing possible Obamacare-related employer liability issues, the ACA’s mandate creates incentives for employers to try to restructure their workforce to avoid the statute’s requirements. However, as I have also noted, employer actions to restructure their workforces to avoid providing health plan benefits could lead to liability claims under ERISA.

A recent decision from the Southern District of New York shows how an employer’s actions to reduce full-time staff to part-time status — allegedly undertaken in an effort to avoid the health care law’s impact — can lead to ERISA class action claims. The decision also underscores how the affected employees may be able to assert viable ERISA claims.
Continue Reading Can Workforce Changes Made in Response to Obamacare Mandates Lead to Employer Liability Claims? Yes, They Can

sup ct 5ERISA plan fiduciaries have a continuing duty to monitor selected plan investments and to remove imprudent investment selections, according to the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous May 18, 2015 opinion in Tibble v. Edison International. Although the Court affirmed the fiduciary duty to monitor, it otherwise left the development of the duty’s contours to be delineated

On July 24, 2013, in a case the court said was one of “first impression,” the First Circuit held that, due to the nature of its involvement in the management of its portfolio company’s operations, a private equity firm was potentially liable for the portfolio company’s pension obligations. The decision has significant implications for the

I am pleased to publish below a guest post from my good friend Kimberly M. Melvin and her colleague John E. Howell, both of the Wiley Rein LLP law firm. Kim and John’s article discusses a recent decision from New York’s high court and its implications for the scope of coverage under a fiduciary

The conventional view is that plaintiffs may be faring poorly in many of the subprime-related cases. However, plaintiffs have in fact been doing relatively better in ’33 Act claims brought by purchasers of mortgage-backed securities. A recent ruling in the Wells Fargo Mortgage-Backed Certificates Litigation, in which a significant number of plaintiffs’ claims survived the defendants’ motions