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ERISA LITIGATION

We have represented corporations of all sizes and insurers in all kinds of ERISA benefit litigation across the United States. We defend against claims for pension, life, health, disability and severance benefits and against claims asserting breach of fiduciary duty. The unique features of ERISA litigation allow us to effectively and efficiently represent clients in courts throughout the United States. Most ERISA benefit cases are decided on summary judgment without discovery or oral argument, which means that our attorneys can represent the plan, the administrator or the fiduciary as effectively from the firm’s St. Louis office as from any other city, usually at substantially lower rates. In addition, unless an attorney focuses his or her practice on ERISA as our attorneys do, the client may not receive the full benefit of ERISA’s unique defenses.

We have been at the forefront of ERISA litigation related to cash balance plans, early retirement programs, ESOPS, stock drops and the reduction of retiree medical benefits. We have represented a party in more than 30 federal appellate reported decisions and more than 80 reported decisions from district courts across the country. Our clients vouch for our effective and efficient representation, and they consider us an important part of their employee benefit team.

We serve as national ERISA litigation counsel for Xerox Corporation and for PepsiCo, Inc., and recently have represented a multinational pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods manufacturer in ERISA litigation pending in California, New Mexico and Illinois. Our attorneys have won cases before the First, Second, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits. We have successfully enforced forum selection clauses in ERISA plans and obtained summary judgments on the grounds the participant failed to exhaust his or her administrative remedies. And, of course, we have won cases involving straightforward ERISA § 502(a) claims for various benefits.

Cocker v. Terminal R.R. Ass'n of St. Louis Pension Plan For Nonschedule Employees: The district court held that the plan administrator’s interpretation of an offset provision in a pension plan was arbitrary and capricious. We persuaded the Seventh Circuit to reverse that judgment.

Kutten v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (US):  The district court held that the insurer had arbitrarily and capriciously interpreted a pre-existing medical condition exclusion. We persuaded the Eighth Circuit to reverse that judgment.

Pendleton v. QuikTrip Corporation: We won summary judgment on an ERISA § 510 claim by a long-term employee who claimed his employer had terminated his employment to avoid the obligation to pay him severance and stock option benefits. The Eighth Circuit affirmed.

Keach v. U.S. Trust Co. N.A.: After a three-week trial, the Court entered judgment in favor of all defendants and against the plaintiff, who alleged that the defendants had breached various fiduciary duties as a part of the ESOP purchasing 100% of the company. The Seventh Circuit affirmed.

Partner
Chicago
312 580 2218

Mike represents management clients in a wide variety of labor and employment matters and related litigation.

Mike represents management clients in a wide variety of labor and employmen...

Mike Duffee
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6470

Rick is one of the few attorneys nationwide who devotes his entire practice to the defense of employers in ERISA litigation related to pension, life, health, and disabili...

Rick is one of the few attorneys nationwide who devotes his entire practice...

Rick Pautler
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6095

Chuck is a creative and highly efficient employment litigator and advisor to private and public sector employers across a wide spectrum of industries.

Chuck is a creative and highly efficient employment litigator and advisor t...

Chuck Poplstein
Associate
St. Louis
314 552 6577

Cody represents employers spanning several industries in various aspects of employment litigation and labor law.

Cody represents employers spanning several industries in various aspects of...

Cody Reinberg
Partner
Los Angeles
310 282 9407

John serves as a one-stop resource for employment counseling and litigation for companies across the country, particularly as they relate to California operations.

John serves as a one-stop resource for employment counseling and litigation...

John Viola
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6217

In an era of escalating pension liabilities and sweeping health care reforms, Trish serves as an employee benefits advisor to public and privately-owned businesses and al...

In an era of escalating pension liabilities and sweeping health care reform...

Trish Winchell