Interest Rate Smoothing and Disaster Relief Provisions Expanded Under the IIJA

On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (the “IIJA”) into law. The President stated that the public would start seeing the infrastructure package’s effects within the next two to three months. A group of bipartisan Senators reached an agreement with the Biden Administration on an infrastructure package that contains various elements of the President’s American Jobs Read More

Department of Labor Focuses on Misuse of Plan Participant Data

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) has increased its focus on the cybersecurity practices of plan sponsors and their service providers. As a result, the DOL has started to ask comprehensive cybersecurity questions in plan audits. It seems apparent that the DOL is concerned with the misuse of confidential participant data, in addition to the theft of plan data or assets. The DOL has focused on the practice of some Read More

LinkedIn Employees Must Rework Proposed Class Action Lawsuit Under ERISA

In November 2021, a California federal court dismissed a suit claiming that LinkedIn Corp. kept underperforming funds in its $817 million retirement fund. The judge in the case, in re: LinkedIn ERISA Litigation, (5:20-cv-05704), U.S. District Court (N.D. Cal.), U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila, dismissed the proposed class action but with leave to amend and add additional facts. Plan participants Douglas G. Read More

SECURE Act Eliminates Need to Adopt Retirement Plans and ESOPs by the End of 2021 for Tax Deduction Purposes

Before 2020, the IRS historically mandated that an employer must adopt an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), and any other retirement plan, no later than the end of the first tax year in which the employer wanted to claim a deduction for plan contributions. Effective December 31, 2019, Section 201 of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (“SECURE Act”) extended this deadline from Read More

HHS Announces Final Rule on Civil Monetary Penalties for HIPAA, MSP, and SBC Violations

Effective November 15, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a final rule finalizing the provisions of the September 6, 2016, interim final rule that adjusted the maximum civil monetary penalty (CMP) amounts, for inflation, for all agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services. These include penalties that apply to violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Read More

Court Dismisses Former Employee’s COBRA Claims

In McKenna v. ZO Skin Health, Inc., 2021 WL 4078291 (N.D. Ohio 2021), an employee sued two of her employers and their third party administrators (“TPA”) after she was denied coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (“COBRA”). After a cancer diagnosis, plaintiff Vicki McKenna elected COBRA after being terminated by her employer, PuraCap Pharmaceutical LLC (“PuraCap”). In April 2018, Read More

House Introduces Retirement Reform Bill

The chairman and ranking member of the House Education and Labor Committee has introduced bipartisan legislation that partially overlaps the SECURE Act 2.0. In early November, committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA); Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), the committee’s ranking Republican; Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee; and Rep. Rick Allen Read More

Mercy Health Agrees To $4M Deal in Retirement Fund Fight

The parties in Hill v. Mercy Health Corp. (N.D. Ill.) reached a settlement agreement in a case where the plaintiffs accused the defendants of mishandling their retirement savings. Parties in the class action lawsuit reported that the parties have reached a $3.9 million settlement in the suit brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary approval of Read More

Second Interim Final Rule Published Regarding IDR Process Under the No Surprise Act

In late September 2021, the Departments of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), Labor and Treasury, and the Office of Personnel Management (collectively, the “Departments”) published the second interim final rule implementing certain provisions of the No Surprises Act (“Part II of the IFR”).  Part II of the IFR addresses critical components of the No Surprises Act (the “Act”) that were not addressed in the Read More

No Clear Winners in Lawsuit over Employee Stock Ownership Plan

In GunBroker.com, LLC v. Tenor Capital Partners, LLC, (N.D. Ga.), an online firearms marketplace sued a financial advisory firm claiming that it provided an inaccurate enterprise valuation. The plaintiff was in the process of creating an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) and sought the valuation from the defendant. The complaint included allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and Read More