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.
Multi-Trust Class Actions
Bailey Glasser’s ERISA team has deep experience with complex, multi-plan class actions involving esoteric trading practices and opaque financial products. We represented hundreds of retirement plans in class actions against major financial institutions engaged in conflicted and imprudent securities lending practices that cost the plans millions. In one such case, against Northern Trust Company in Chicago federal court, we recovered $36 million for our clients. We also successfully prosecuted a complex, unlawful tax-fee against BNY Mellon on behalf of thousands of family trusts, ultimately recovering millions for our clients. Currently, we are prosecuting an ERISA class action against Intel Corp. involving poor performing hedge funds and private equity investments.
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 litigated at all levels, including the United States Supreme Court, recovered over $100 million on behalf of our clients, and 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.
Bailey & Glasser, LLP is investigating the creation of the Urschel Laboratories. Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), a retirement plan in which employees of Urschel Laboratories participate. Bailey & Glasser is investigating the transactions in which the ESOP purchased Urschel Laboratories in 2016, including the valuation of Urschel Laboratories stock at that time.