erisa Litigation

 ERISA litigation is the overarching category for pension and benefits litigation under the federal law governing employee benefits, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”).  We prosecute ERISA litigation cases in large employee group actions (100+ employees) and related class actions. These include:

401k litigation

pension litigation

group health litigation


ERISA governs nearly all areas of employee benefits, from pensions to group health plans and arrangements. The key unifying factor of all these areas of ERISA litigation is the all-important fiduciary duty requirement. Plan sponsors and fiduciaries must discharge duties with respect to a plan–

solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries and—

(A) for the exclusive purpose of:

(i) providing benefits to participants and their beneficiaries; and
(ii) defraying reasonable expenses of administering the plan.

A fiduciary must act–

With the care, skill, prudence, and diligence under the circumstances then prevailing that a prudent person acting in a like capacity and familiar with such matters would use in the conduct of an enterprise of a like character and with like aims.

If an ERISA fiduciary fails in its duties, participants and beneficiaries in the plan may bring a lawsuit to enforce their rights under the plan and/or for monetary recovery.  (see FAQ)

erisa worksheet



Pension Litigation

Defined benefit plans are the traditional pension plans offered by an employer for decades in the US. While new DB plans are hardly ever offered any longer, many legacy plans exist, particularly for union employees and legacy companies. See here for discussion about red flags to watch for concerning traditional pension plans.

401k Litigation

As most people know, 401(k) plans now are the investing vehicle of choice offered by employers. Typically, a participant is offered a menu of investing options from which to choose from. But the US Supreme court has been clear that a pension fiduciary must regularly review options offered by a plan, and must remove under-performing investments. See here for discussion about red flags to watch for concerning individual contribution plans.

Group Health Litigation

Welfare benefit plans largely involve group insurance offered by an employer. Group health plans now intersect with the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010. As the ACA is incredibly complicated, with many moving parts, insurance companies and related third parties have been hard at work to find loopholes, to extract higher premium payments and provide fewer actual benefits (notwithstanding the ACA requirements).  By any measure, this exploitation has gotten far out of hand, and requires litigation to course correct. See here for discussion about red flags to watch for concerning insurance and other welfare benefit plans.


Bankruptcy Adversary Proceedings

When a plan sponsor of a traditional pension plan files for bankruptcy, it is virtually certain that company will try to jettison its pension plan.  Specific bankruptcy code sections have been adopted to address this problem.  We are experienced in navigating pension plan bankruptcy problems for employee groups.


Healthcare Sharing

Healthcare sharing is a benefit arrangement in which individuals share medical expenses in accordance with their religious beliefs. In this sense, healthcare sharing bypasses health insurance laws and provides an exemption for individual mandates to purchase insurance.

Healthcare sharing is a an attractive and affordable alternative to health insurance for many people.  But due diligence into a chosen provider is highly recommended.

Have Questions about your Pension or Benefits Plan?

“Our firm’s greatest differentiating value is to understand and simplify ERISA litigation complexities.”

The complexity of financial investments has increased tremendously in recent years. The majority of pension money is no longer held in traditional mutual funds (that are easy for a participant to understand), but are held in “collective investment trusts” and similar layered structures that are difficult to understand or see behind. Banks and investment managers often taken advantage of complex investment trust structures to make money for themselves–at your expense.

Our firm’s greatest differentiating value is to understand and simplify pension and financial complexities.

In our experience, when large financial institutions are confronted with a simple and clear attack on self-dealing investment behaviors, litigation is often settled favorably and quickly.

As the case may require, we often associate larger firms as co-counsel. In past cases, associated counsel have included Boies, Schiller & Flexner and Hagens Berman.

Additional Advantages

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We are Highly Evidence Driven.

Litigation is discovering the truth, and cases are won or lost based on the evidence presented. In ERISA cases, we work hard to identify and uncover evidence of self-dealing.  Self dealing is a siren call that a great many investment managers cannot ignore–and this always harms the plan’s returns. We focus intently on developing this evidence to ensure victory for our clients.

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We give Close Personal Attention.

Our advantage over other large firms is our approach to cases. We dedicate ourselves to every aspect of the case and don’t rely on junior associates to research, write, and argue for us.

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We are Cost Effective.

There’s no reason to pay hefty costs to firms when you can obtain equal or better quality litigation work from McBride Law PC at a fraction of the cost than our opponents.



What Type of Lawsuits Can be Brought under ERISA?

ERISA lawsuits include claims involving defined benefit plans (traditional pension plans); and defined contribution plans (401(k) and 403(b) plans; and health and welfare plans and arrangements.

What is the Statute of Limitations for an ERISA Claim?

An ERISA lawsuit must be brought within  four years of a fiduciary breach of duty by an ERISA fiduciary.

What Legal Remedies are Available in an ERISA Lawsuit?

ERISA allows two remedies: (1) recovery of financial losses resulting from a fiduciary breach; and (2) declaratory relief that a fiduciary has committed an ERISA breach (such as failing to describe plan benefits and limitations in plain English) and must correct that breach.

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Have Questions about your Pension or Benefits Plan?