ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) is a law that impacts almost every area of practice, yet few lawyers understand even the basics of ERISA claims. This seminar will provide an overview on those issues and also focus on the most critical ERISA issues impacting employees and employers.
ERISA litigation continues to see extensive activity with settlement totals in the millions. Fiduciary duty claims and pension investment challenges are emerging and evolving. The 2010 term of the Supreme Court produced ERISA-specific rulings like CIGNA v. Amara which will dramatically impact the ERISA litigation.
In this evolving landscape, it is critical that ERISA litigators keep abreast of emerging theories of liability, key settlement trends, and case law and other procedural issues like standing, preemption, pleading standards and attorney fees.
Moderator: Mark DeBofsky, Daley DeBofsky & Bryant, Chicago
Counsel experienced in representing both claimants and plans will discuss the best practices for handling an ERISA benefits claim before litigation starts. What are the pitfalls for claimants and plan administrators? What are the key issues to be aware of and addressed at this stage? What are the deadlines and procedural requirements every ERISA lawyer should know? All this and more will be debated and discussed in an interactive and informative session.
Plaintiff: Michael Bartolic, Law Office of Michael Bartolic, LLC, Chicago
Defense: Elizabeth Gwynn Doolin, Chittenden, Murday & Novotny LLC, Chicago
Claims Standard of Review
This session will explore the standard of review for benefit claims, including application of the arbitrary and capricious and de novo standards of review. In addition, the presentation will address evidentiary issues, such as the scope of the administrative record, and circumstances that plaintiffs contend give rise to a conflict of interest.
Erin E. Kelly, Sidley Austin, LLP, Chicago
Damages Issues and Scope
Learn the parameters of available relief under ERISA's civil litigation provisions and cutting edge remedy issues. What forms of relief are normally awarded in conjunction with ERISA claims for benefits? What are the latest trends and developments concerning "appropriate equitable relief" under ERISA Section 502(a)(3)? The Supreme Court's next ERISA case concerns remedies in a reimbursement case -- what may be in store from the Court?
Ian H. Morrison, Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, Chicago
This section will discuss the limits on discovery in ERISA benefit claims litigation, including the relationship between the standard of review and the scope of discovery; what is and is not part of the administrative record; and discovery related to an allegation of a conflict of interest. Because discovery is generally limited in the benefits claim context, special attention will be paid to conflict of interest discovery and the current state of the law following the Supreme Court's 2008 decision in Metlife v. Glenn.
Patrick W. Spangler, Vedder Price PC, Chicago
As the Supreme Court has reasoned, ERISA's primary purpose in enacting ERISA was to protect the interests of plan beneficiaries, and while doing so, to minimize the administrative burden of plans which would result from having to comply with conflicting directives of States. To achieve those goals, Congress set forth in ERISA a comprehensive preemption provision mandating that state law claims relating to employee benefits are preempted by the federal law of ERISA. This session will review the Supreme Court's interpretation and application of ERISA's preemption requirements, including the doctrines of complete and conflict preemption, removal of state law claims from state court to federal court, and the real world effects of preemption on state claims, such as the differences in remedies, standard of review and discovery in addressing such claims.
Nancy G. Ross, McDermott, Will & Emery, Chicago
Review of the Most Important Litigation
Get up to speed on the most significant ERISA litigation developments of the past year and how they affect your practice. This presentation will include plaintiff and defense-side commentary and analysis of key cases, including Cigna v. Amara, the continued effects of MetLife v. Glenn and Hardt v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, and a preview of the U.S. Airways v. McCutchen case recently accepted for review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Plaintiff: Mark D. DeBofsky, Daley DeBofsky & Bryant, Chicago
Defense: Ada W. Dolph, Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, Chicago