ERISA & Employee Benefits

Mark Poerio

One-Two Punch to Defuse Severance and Other Benefit Disputes

On September 4, 2019, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Bangaru v. Shell U.S. Hosting Company et al, 4:17-cv-00629 (S.D. Tx.), shut the door on a former Shell executive who sought $1.5 million of severance based on his interpretation of the severance laws of his home country (India). The Court described the plaintiff's arguments as confusing and granted summary judgment to Shell. Shell ...

Deal-Breaking M&A Issues Related to Employee Benefit Plans and Executive Compensation

Employee benefit and executive compensation issues can disrupt merger and acquisition transactions when overlooked until the last minute, or cause major post-transaction problems if not properly addressed before closing. The list below is intended to facilitate the detection, negotiation, and resolution of possible employee benefit plan and executive compensation-related problems. As a general ...

An Ounce of Litigation Prevention for Executive Benefits...and Severance: Lessons from an Employer's Quagmire in New Jersey

There are three instructive takeaways from the April 24th decision in Weller v. Linde Pension Excess Program (D. NJ). In that case, the employer failed in its effort to end the case before significant discovery and expense would result. Worse for the employer: the litigation arose after the executive had terminated employment, collected severance, and signed a general release of claims. So what ...

Rabbi Trusts - When to ask. What to get.

A recent Law360 headline brought rabbi trusts immediately to mind. It reads "Ex-Manufacturing Co. CEO Says He's Owed $4.4M in Benefits" (4/10/2019).* Litigation sprung because the retired CEO expected to receive monthly supplemental retirement benefits over a period of 10 years, but his company suspended payment after 15 months. The disagreement seems to involve whether life insurance provided ...

Deal-Breaking M&A Issues Related to Employee Benefit Plans and Executive Compensation

Employee benefit and executive compensation related issues have been known to unravel merger and acquisition transactions. These sometimes seriously disruptive issues can explode an otherwise viable deal when overlooked until the last minute. The list below is intended to facilitate the detection, negotiation, and resolution of possible employee benefit plan and executive compensation related ...

ERISA and Severance Benefits: 3rd Circuit Decision Should Prompt Employers to be Proactive

A recent 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals decision should remind employers to take the initiative -- in severance plans and agreements -- to affirmatively address whether ERISA will govern plan disputes, as well as how disputes will get resolved. This is because a well-drafted ERISA plan should expedite the resolution of employee claims in a cost-effective manner that involves a high level of ...

Voluntary Severance Plans: From Success to Backfire

What happens when 3,000 employees over age 55 receive a buy-out offer because they have more than 10 years of experience? Fidelity made that offer to 7% of its workforce, and more than 50% of the eligible employees accepted. Fidelity's "results exceeded [its] expectations" according to a Bloomberg BNA article.1