We have extensive experience in litigating cases under ERISA and related laws. Many of the cases we have successfully litigated for our clients have been legal milestones in defining core legal issues. Our advocacy in the courtroom has led to judicial decisions establishing such foundational issues as who qualifies as a fiduciary under ERISA; what constitutes a breach of fiduciary duty; when may a trustee be removed for breach of fiduciary duty; what options a plan has in determining its funded status when assessing withdrawal liability; and the constitutionality of the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 (MPPAA).
Slevin & Hart attorneys have extensive experience litigating suits brought against fiduciaries by participants, employers and the Department of Labor. Often, our representation extends beyond the actual defense of the case, and we provide counsel on related matters such as the ability of counsel to represent the plan and the fiduciaries, the operation of a plan during litigation, the reimbursement by the plan of the fiduciaries’ defense costs, and controversies involving coverage under the fiduciary insurance policy (including disputes with insurance carriers).
Working closely with benefit fund administrators, employers and other plan sponsors gives us insight into the legal aspects and best practices of the participant benefit claims process. Pension, health, and disability claims each carry their own set of considerations and challenging timing requirements, which are subject to statutory and regulatory changes and can give rise to costly litigation. At the same time, the body of case law on plan claims and appeals procedures is constantly changing. Our clients rely on our knowledge of the shifting legal landscape to handle suits for benefit claims with skill and efficiency.
Our attorneys have been instrumental in the creation and development of the law governing the calculation and collection of multiemployer withdrawal liability, dating back to the introduction of withdrawal liability under the MPPAA in 1980. We provide our clients with the detailed analysis and practical advice necessary to negotiate the many complex issues withdrawal liability presents. From bargaining with existing employers to arbitration with withdrawn employers, our attorneys bring a wealth of experience with withdrawal liability to bear. We also have extensive experience pursuing withdrawal liability claims in bankruptcy courts across the country, and use our knowledge of the subject to get the best possible result for our clients.
Our substantial representation of multiemployer plans has allowed us to develop significant experience related to the collection of delinquent contributions. We advise clients in developing, implementing and documenting payroll audit and delinquency procedures and policies. Slevin & Hart’s team of experienced litigators have successfully litigated numerous cases to collect delinquent contributions. As a result, the firm has developed cost-effective systems for pursuing and collecting contribution delinquencies.
As a result of our experience in representing plans providing health and short-term disability benefits, we have developed sophisticated systems and expertise in pursuing a plan’s right to recover payments due the plan when a third party is liable to the participant. This representation results in significant savings to our clients, as the recoveries from third parties help lower the cost of plan administration.