ERISA & Employee Benefits
Simplifying benefit plan compliance and resolving issues
Bullivant Houser’s employee benefits team understands that employee benefit plans can be complex and subject to many federal and state regulatory requirements. As employers increasingly seek to provide attractive and competitive benefit packages for their employees, they often find the governing of these plans to be overwhelming. We advise clients on strategies for keeping benefit plans in compliance with ERISA and other applicable federal and state laws, while at the same time remaining sensitive to our clients’ goals and concerns around structuring and administering their plans. We stay on top of cutting-edge and emerging issues in benefits and labor law, keep our clients up-to-date on changes and best practices, and help them identify aspects of their plan documents or plan administration that require a fresh look.
Our employee benefits attorneys represent multi-billion-dollar ERISA trust funds, including many multi-employer pension plans and health and welfare plans, including vacation and training funds. We make sure all documents are legally correct, employers are making proper contributions and that complex labor laws are followed to preserve the trust fund for the benefit of plan participants and beneficiaries. Not only do we help our clients ensure their plans are in line with the law and design plans that take them successfully into the future, we have substantial experience defending plans, plan administrators, trustees, directors and insurers from claims for benefits or breach of fiduciary duty.
Bullivant also represents many of the top life, health, and disability insurers. In addition to defending insurers in court on benefit claims, our attorneys provide guidance with respect to specific state insurance laws and regulations, assist in responding to Department of Labor subpoenas and Department of Insurance requests, provide representation in administrative hearings, and assist with legislative issues impacting our clients’ interests.
- Serving as counsel to ERISA multi-employer union Taft-Hartley plans and California State governmental plans
- Defending litigation against multi-employer and single-employer plans
- Assisting MEWAS and association plans in navigating legislative changes to the Insurance Code
Regulatory and transactional advice
- Advising qualified plans, including defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans, health and welfare plans, vacation funds, and apprentice and training funds on all aspects of compliance, administration, distribution, and reporting
- Assisting plan trustees in fulfilling their roles as fiduciaries
- Advising on plan design, including preparing plan documents and Summary Plan Descriptions, and amending plan documents to reflect legislative or regulatory changes
- Negotiating vendor agreements and investment management agreements
- Advising on benefit claims, denials, and appeals
- Advising on prohibited transactions and exemptions
- Assisting plan sponsors and administrators in complying with ERISA, IRC, ACA, HIPAA, COBRA, and USERRA requirements
- Assisting in the administration of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) and Qualified Medical Child Support Orders (QMCSOs)
Litigation and representation before agencies
- Pursuing employer delinquent contributions and benefit overpayments
- Defending plan sponsors, administrators, and claims administrators from ERISA benefits claims in state and federal court
- Representing insurers before the Department of Insurance
- Instituting actions for interpleader or for declaratory relief when necessary to clarify the insurer’s legal obligation under the policy and minimize duplicative litigation