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ERISA Litigation

Our clients increasingly face large, complex claims for benefits under pension and welfare benefit plans.

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Mayer Brown has one of the most recognized ERISA Litigation practices in the United States. Our lawyers have extensive experience in a wide variety of litigation and administrative proceedings involving employee benefit plans. We regularly represent plan sponsors and plan administrators, as well as individual and corporate fiduciaries, trustees, custodians, financial institutions and plan service providers, in both individual benefit claims and complex class action litigation. We are approved by fiduciary liability carriers to provide defense for their insureds. We litigate individual employee benefits cases as well as class actions in courts throughout the United States and also counsel large and small companies, institutional trustees and fiduciaries about employee benefits issues in order to minimize the risk of litigation.

As full-time litigators with solid procedural and substantive experience in benefits litigation, we have the advocacy skills to successfully manage and defend complex benefit issues in the courts, and we also draw from our experiences in the courtroom to provide counseling and advice in complicated benefits issues. We have counseled on and defended a wide range of benefits issues, including fiduciary prudence in a variety of circumstances, plan amendment decisions, plan calculation issues, executive defined compensation claims, pension and welfare benefit claims and termination of retiree medical benefits. In handling benefits litigation, we work closely with the firm’s Employee Benefits lawyers, who bring to the table a deep understanding of ERISA’s regulatory environment. We also have extensive experience representing benefit plans and employers in US Department of Labor enforcement actions.

ERISA lawsuits brought as class actions are typically intertwined with labor relations, securities, insurance coverage and tax issues, and are often pursued in multiple venues, including before the Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service and in the federal courts. Defending such actions at trial and on appeal requires litigators who are experienced with complex class suits and who have a deep understanding of ERISA and a sophisticated awareness of the types of ancillary issues that arise in such litigations. Mayer Brown’s ERISA Litigation practice draws upon lawyers from our firm’s other highly regarded practices that are respected equally in the federal courts and the relevant governmental agencies. For example, our firm’s top-rated Supreme Court & Appellate practice, which includes many veterans of the Solicitor General’s office, works closely with our ERISA Litigation practice on cases in the federal courts.

Mayer Brown not only offers broad ERISA experience and a deep bench of talented ERISA litigators, it offers award-winning client service. In 2013, Mayer Brown ranked second among 650 global law firms in the BTI Client Service A-Team survey. Rankings were based on feedback from corporate counsel at global and Fortune 1000 companies.

Lawyers in our ERISA Litigation practice are experienced in managing relationships with fiduciary liability carriers and addressing concerns that arise in such cases. Further, our lawyers assist plan sponsors in responding to administrative claims made by plan participants, helping to craft answers that, if they do not dissuade the participant from pursuing the matter further, will at least put the sponsor in the best possible position in any subsequent lawsuit. Given this wide range of experience, we are exceptionally well-qualified to help clients deal with the controversies that ERISA still generates, more than 40 years after it was first adopted.

Department of Labor Enforcement and Exemptions
Together with members of our ERISA Fiduciary counseling group, our ERISA Litigation lawyers regularly work with the Department of Labor on behalf of clients in connection with exemptions, interpretations of ERISA and enforcement matters. We have also defended numerous Department of Labor ERISA investigations on behalf of plans, advisers and other fiduciaries and service providers. For example, we have represented investment fund advisers in connection with Department of Labor conflict-of-interest challenges, government contractors in Department of Labor investigations over plan fees charged to participants and financial institutions in connection with, among other things, the Department of Labor’s investigation into mutual fund market timing practices, the Department of Labor’s enforcement initiative against cross-trading and in preparing comments to the Department of Labor on its class exemption for passive cross-trading.

Market Recognition
Mayer Brown lawyers are recognized as leaders in their fields, and our ERISA Litigation lawyers have been highly praised for their work.

  • Chambers USA has nationally ranked one of our ERISA Litigation lawyers among the top 25 lawyers nationwide continually since 2009.
  • Legal 500 USA has nationally ranked our ERISA Litigation practice as one of the best in the nation.
  • US News-Best Lawyers 2014 named one of our ERISA Litigation lawyers as “Lawyer of the Year—ERISA Litigation” in Chicago. 
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