ERISA and Employee Benefits Litigation

Frost Brown Todd's litigators combine in-depth knowledge and creative litigation strategies to provide practical Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) solutions for corporations and insurance providers. ERISA litigation is a unique area that requires in-depth knowledge of ERISA law and the nuances of ERISA litigation that separates it from normal trial court practice. Working with our transactional employee benefits team, FBT's ERISA litigators have extensive experience in assisting clients facing benefits litigation, including ERISA class actions. We defend ERISA cases for Fortune 500 insurers, health care providers, self-insured employers and third-party claims administrators.

FBT's experienced team of ERISA litigators routinely defends clients against benefits denial claims at the district court and appellate levels, from simple disability benefit defenses to class action litigation. We also have extensive experience defending ERISA discrimination claims and complex ERISA litigation involving spousal and beneficiary rights, breach of fiduciary duty, severance and early retirement benefits, plan termination and benefit cutbacks, withdrawal liability and delinquent contributions.

We have a proven track record of successfully defending ERISA claims on pre-trial motions, including motions to dismiss potentially harmful state law claims, such as bad faith or breach of contract claims, on preemptive grounds, which prevents the plaintiff from conducting expensive and harassing discovery, and avoids potential injunctive relief.

FBT is committed to working with our clients not only to achieve their litigation goals but also to give timely, relevant information regarding litigation trends. Because we routinely practice before the Sixth and Seventh Circuit judiciary, we are well positioned to tailor our arguments to a particular judge’s areas of interest and concern. In addition, we are able to identify and advise our clients regarding developing decisional trends.

For example, in the Sixth Circuit, we are seeing increasing judicial skepticism of decisions that rely solely on a records review conducted by a physician hired by the insurer. We are advising our clients that, where an insurer does not exercise its right to conduct an independent medical examination of the insured, reliance on the records review alone is increasingly being questioned – particularly where the reviewing physician makes critical credibility determinations based solely on his or her review of those records. This type of advice allows our clients to proactively adjust their claims handling procedures in order to avoid litigation and/or increase their odds of prevailing when litigation does occur.

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