ERISA, Pension & Benefits Litigation
With plaintiffs targeting employee benefit plans at an accelerating speed, Paul, Weiss has built an exceptional practice defending plan sponsors, fiduciaries and service providers in the technically demanding, high-stakes arena of ERISA, pension- and employee benefits-related class actions and related litigation. We are also among the preeminent firms nationally in handling the securities litigation that frequently accompanies ERISA disputes.
Examples of our ERISA, pension and benefits litigation-related work include representing:
- AIG in the settlement of an ERISA stock drop litigation.
- Alaska Retirement Management (ARM) Board in a groundbreaking $500 million settlement of malpractice litigation brought by pension plans for public employees in the State of Alaska against the plan’s former actuary, Mercer (U.S.), a unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos. The ARM Board claimed that Mercer miscalculated the contributions needed to fund Alaska’s two largest pension plans, the Public Employees Retirement System and the Teachers Retirement System, contributing at least $1.8 billion to Alaska’s pension shortfall.
- Bank One (now JPMorgan Chase) in the successful resolution of proceedings brought by various state and federal regulators as well as securities class action, ERISA class action and derivative fund lawsuits arising out of allegations of mutual fund market timing.
- The Bank of New York Mellon in a novel putative class action by plan participants alleging ERISA violations in relation to the Bank’s role as depositary bank for ADRs.
- Bear Stearns in obtaining dismissal in the Southern District of New York of an ERISA stock drop class action alleging that the trustees of the Bear Stearns ESOP violated their fiduciary duties by failing to sell Bear Stearns stock held by the plan prior to the acquisition of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan.
- in obtaining the dismissal of an ERISA stock drop action alleging that Citigroup 401(k) plan fiduciaries violated their fiduciary duties by failing to limit plan participants’ ability to invest in Citigroup stock. The dismissal was affirmed on appeal —the first time the Second Circuit Court of Appeals addressed a series of important issues raised by ERISA stock drop cases;
- in obtaining the dismissal of a multibillion-dollar ERISA stock drop action alleging that Citigroup 401(k) plan fiduciaries violated their fiduciary duties by failing to limit plan participants’ ability to invest in Citigroup stock. The dismissal was affirmed by the Second Circuit in an opinion that became the leading authority in the Second Circuit governing pleading standards for ERISA stock drop claims. Plaintiffs’ petition for a writ of certiorari was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016; and
- as lead appellate counsel, in obtaining dismissal in the Second Circuit reversing summary judgment of a class action alleging that Citigroup’s cash-balance plan with over 100,000 participants violated ERISA minimum benefit accrual rules and notice requirements.
- Conexant, a semiconductor manufacturer, in an ERISA suit and securities fraud class action challenging disclosures related to the integration of an acquisition. The ERISA suit has largely been dismissed, and the securities fraud class action was dismissed with prejudice and no appeal was filed.
- Dave & Busters in the successful resolution of ERISA litigation regarding employee health benefits.
- Exxon Mobil Corporation and the trustees of its retirement plan in the dismissal, with prejudice, of unprecedented putative ERISA claims in the Southern District of Texas in connection with the future impacts of climate change brought by participants in and beneficiaries of ExxonMobil’s Savings Plan who invested in the company’s stock.
- ING Group in an ERISA class action in federal court in New York.
- JPMorgan Bank in a series of class actions asserting violations of fiduciary duties owed to ERISA plans in connection with the investment of cash collateral generated in JPMorgan Bank’s securities lending programs.
- Merck & Co.:
- and Schering-Plough in the settlement of claims of breach of fiduciary duty and ERISA violations by investors in connection with stock prices falling relating to study results that were released with regards to the cholesterol-lowering drug Vytorin; and
- in the successful settlement of ERISA, securities and derivative claims related to Merck’s release, and ultimate withdrawal, of the pain medication Vioxx.
- Morgan Stanley Investment Management in the dismissal of claims of a breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA asserted against an investment management by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, in a detailed decision that elucidates the standards for pleading a claim for violation of ERISA.
- Prudential Insurance in achieving a settlement in principle in a case that alleged Prudential and others conspired against the plaintiffs to place their employment-related claims against Prudential into an alternative dispute resolution process in which they allegedly recovered, or were offered, less than the true value of their claims.
- The Kraft Heinz Company and various of its officers and directors in high-profile ERISA litigation following a series of disclosures concerning $15.4 billion in non-cash impairment charges reported by Kraft Heinz to its goodwill and intangible assets, including to the company’s Kraft cheese and Oscar Mayer brands, and an SEC subpoena related to Kraft Heinz’s procurement function.
- Time Warner Administrative Committee in various ERISA matters on a regular basis.