Employee benefits/executive compensation (ERISA) is a diverse and rapidly changing area of the law and its significance to affairs of business continues to increase. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’ s practice includes representing clients in private single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and before state and federal courts and various governmental agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Akin Gump counsels a variety of clients on a full range of employee benefits/executive compensation issues and prides itself on its ability to bring extensive experience to this complex area. Our clients include all types and sizes of business entities, individuals, financial institutions, city governments, and individual and corporate trustees of employee benefit plans.
ERISA has established procedures for enforcing its provisions governing employee benefit plans through private litigation and agency enforcement. ERISA litigation typically involves not only specific ERISA claims, such as COBRA actions and actions for benefits or for breach of fiduciary duties, but frequently also includes claims under state or federal law, such as Equal Employment Opportunity, Taft-Hartley and breach of contract actions. Our lawyers are experienced in defending cases arising under ERISA, including cases alleging interference with statutory rights, complex claims of fiduciary breach, claims alleging prohibited transactions and claims alleging violation of ERISA’s nondiscrimination provisions.
Akin Gump litigators call upon their counterparts who have experience designing and implementing pension, profit sharing, 401(k), employee stock ownership, target benefit, and stock bonus plans, to adeptly handle a full gamut of claims. We have represented clients in high-profile “stock drop” class actions, class actions challenging ESOP terminations, claims seeking benefits on behalf of allegedly “misclassified” workers and Department of Labor (DOL) investigations and litigation. ERISA claims frequently are combined with claims under other state and federal employment laws, and Akin Gump has the depth and experience in employment litigation to provide an appropriate and effective team to handle any dispute involving executive compensation, benefits or separation from employment. In addition, the firm's ERISA litigation experience provides an excellent perspective, enabling it to counsel clients on avoiding future litigation.