Bailey Glasser handles class actions and high stakes individual actions involving employee pension benefits—including employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), 401(k) plans and other defined contribution or individual account plans, and traditional defined benefit pension plans—and trust litigation involving family and other private trusts. We litigate these actions throughout the United States under the federal employee benefits law known as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and under state trust law.
Our clients include employees, former employees, retirees, and trust beneficiaries, as well as businesses and other professionals victimized by fraud, investment mismanagement, hidden and undisclosed fees, and illegal benefit cutbacks. We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients in litigation claiming breaches of fiduciary duty, prohibited transactions, and other violations of the law. Our fiduciary duty practice also includes claims in the growing area of ERISA welfare benefit plan litigation, such as claims challenging systematic denials of treatments under medical plans under policies that violate ERISA.
Bailey Glasser focuses on ESOPs that invest in private companies. Federal pension law provides generous tax subsidies to shareholders and companies that sell their stock to an ESOP. In exchange for these tax benefits, federal law requires that an independent trustee decides whether the stock transaction should happen. Independent trustees are supposed to act like a hypothetical prudent buyer in the market for a private company. Unfortunately, in our experience, these trustees do not conduct adequate due diligence, do not have a sophisticated understanding of corporate transactions, and are more interested in collecting trustee fees paid by the employer than doing their job.
The US Department of Labor has long identified ESOPs as an enforcement priority due to rampant abuses by plan service providers, and the firm has worked closely with the DOL on lawsuits. Bailey Glasser’s ESOP practice strives to obtain real money for our clients and create real changes in the industry.
Bailey Glasser has a long history of representing employees and retirees harmed by hidden or excessive fees, or imprudent investments, in their 401(k) plans. Our experienced team understands the various ways financial-services companies can profit from workers’ hard-earned retirement savings. We have successfully recovered over $100 million on behalf of our clients, as well as provided meaningful improvements to retirement plans across the country.
Our team represents plan participants and beneficiaries in claiming the benefits that they were promised, and earned, under the written terms of their pension plans. In addition, plan sponsors are prohibited by law from amending qualified plans to decrease participants’ “accrued benefits” and from eliminating or reducing certain “protected benefits.” We have attorneys experienced in “anti-cutback rule” litigation. Bailey Glasser has recently been spearheading litigation alleging that actuarial assumptions used to determine optional forms of benefits or early retirement benefits are outdated. We are seeking losses to participants caused by use of outdated actuarial assumptions that cause benefits to be paid that are not actuarially equivalent to the annual monthly benefit (typically expressed as a single life annuity) payable at normal retirement age.
We understand how trustees, money managers, and investment advisors operate, and know how to spot hidden fees and mismanagement. Bailey Glasser recently finalized a nationwide class action on behalf of private family trusts who were being charged hidden fees by a large bank.
Health and Medical Plans
Our team members collectively have decades of experience in ERISA fiduciary duty litigation. We represent participants and beneficiaries in health care and medical plans to challenge systematic denials of treatments under policies that violate ERISA, and violations of mental health parity law.
- Of Counsel
- Won a $30 million trial judgment in Brundle v. Wilmington Trust, a case involving multiple breaches of duty by the trustee and complex valuation issues in an ESOP transaction; won a complete affirmance by the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, establishing new law on ESOPs that has been cited nationwide
- Obtained a precedent-setting decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Allen v. GreatBanc Trust Co., which established important pleading standards in ESOP cases
- Settled an ESOP lawsuit for $19.5 million, in Jessop v. Larsen, working closely with the US Department of Labor; yielded an average class member recovery of over $30,000
- Settled a complex securities lending action for $36 million against Northern Trust on behalf of hundreds of retirement plans across the country
- Settled a lawsuit against Franklin Templeton for $26 million where the plaintiffs alleged that Franklin Templeton stuffed its own employee 401(k) plan with Franklin Templeton mutual funds despite a conflict of interest
- Settled a lawsuit against Fidelity Investments for $12 million where the plaintiffs alleged that Fidelity stuffed its own employee 401(k) plan with Fidelity mutual funds
- Represents Intel employees in Sulyma v. Intel Corp, a case claiming that retirement plan trustees lost substantial retirement savings by investing in hedge funds and private equity; following a victory before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the case is scheduled for argument before the US Supreme Court on December 4, 2019, over the statute of limitations defense
- Settled a multi-state class action against BNY Mellon for $10 million on behalf of hundreds of private family trusts who had been charged hidden fees
- Represents employees in multiple pension plan lawsuits claiming that employers used outdated mortality tables, some 50 years old, to improperly calculate pension benefits
News & Insights
- Bailey Glasser Wins Class Certification on Behalf of The Bradford Hammacher Group, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan’s Participants02.19.2018
- Bailey Glasser Wins Class Certification on Behalf of Mona Vie Employee Stock Ownership Plan Participants12.11.2015
- Federal Judge Approves $12 Million Retirement Plan Class Action Settlement Against Fidelity Investments10.17.2014