Employee Retirement Income Security Act
A growing area of law, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) laws, rules, and regulations protect the money that employees invest into their company’s pension plans, profit-sharing plans, and 401(k) plans. Plan administrators are required by law to minimize the risk of loss, but some brokers may make unsuitable trades, over-concentrate plan investments, or otherwise commit misconduct while handling YOUR money.
If your employee retirement plan suffered investment losses, don’t hesitate to contact the expert ERISA litigation attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm for your FREE case consultation.
How Employers Violate ERISA
Not so long ago, the misuse and misappropriation of funds dedicated to employee benefit plans was widespread. Reacting in particular to the 1963 shutdown and subsequent pension default by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation, in 1974 Congress enacted the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, otherwise known as ERISA, to protect against improper claim decisions and the mismanagement of welfare, health, and financial benefit plan funds by employers who have offered these benefits to employees.
In general, ERISA regulations cover most benefit plans that are obtained from an employer; employers are not required to offer these benefits, but those who choose to must follow the laws laid out in ERISA.
Employers who commit a breach of fiduciary duty or otherwise mismanage retirement plan assets do not harm just one worker, but often hundred or thousands of employees. As the number of retirees in the United States continues to grow, plan providers are increasingly strained to fully fund and manage benefit plans.
Facing these new challenges, some plan administrators will inevitably choose to avoid their legal responsibilities by:
- Defying plan requirements
- Over-concentrating investments
- Charging excessive fees
If you believe that your plan fiduciary is not representing the interests of you and other plan participants, an ERISA class action lawsuit through Wilshire Law Firm can help you recover any financial losses caused by that breach of duty. Talk to our ERISA litigation attorneys today to review your rights and options with a FREE case consultation.
When evaluating the validity of an ERISA claim, the actions of employers and employees will be judged on the following criteria:
- Conduct—Plan administrators and fiduciaries are obligated to act in the best interests of their employees, former employees, and other plan participants.
- Information—Employees have a right to information about their benefits and the administration of those benefits.
- Procedures—Detailed employee benefit reporting must be submitted to the federal government, and policies and procedures regarding ERISA claims and the appeals process of denied ERISA claims should be well established.
Although ERISA establishes a pathway for policyholders to protect their right to employer-offered benefits, it is not without its shortcomings. Along the same lines as implied consent, ERISA limits the damage that plan administrators will suffer for wrongfully denying a claim. Policyholders who file an ERISA claim have their legal rights restricted in several ways, including:
- No trial by jury
- Preemption of state law that does not allow plaintiffs to bring state-law claims such as insurance fraud or breach of contract
- No pre-trial discovery
- No awarding of punitive damages
These elements do not mean that employees are powerless when an employer mismanages retirement plan investments. Plan participants who choose to file an ERISA lawsuit are eligible for certain remedies in order to alleviate the damages cause by an ERISA violation. Joining together in a class action lawsuit, plaintiffs often seek relief in forms such as:
- Enforcement of a retirement plan’s terms
- Monetary damages awarded for financial losses
- Payment of any wrongfully denied plan benefits
- Other equitable relief
How Wilshire Law Firm Can Help You
Having the retirement benefits your employer promised you unfairly stripped away isn’t just wrong—it’s illegal. Give Wilshire Law Firm the chance to help. Our expert attorneys routinely represent clients in class action claims and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in damages since 2007.
A complex law with many moving parts and deadlines, our dedicated lawyers stay up-to-date on the latest developments in ERISA, putting you in the best position to succeed with your class action lawsuit. Your time to file a claim may be limited, so ACT NOW. Contact Wilshire Law Firm today by calling (844) 979-0933, or fill out our online contact form to get started with your FREE case consultation.