The attorneys in Miller & Martin's Employee Benefits Litigation Group combine substantive knowledge of ERISA and employee benefits, labor and employment law, bankruptcy, securities, and insurance law with the experience of seasoned trial attorneys in order to serve clients in these complex and specialized areas.
Our Employee Benefits litigators represent employers and plan sponsors, life, health and disability insurance carriers, fiduciaries, service providers, and plan participants and beneficiaries. We work not only with plans subject to ERISA but also with governmental plans and nonqualified deferred compensation plans. We have extensive state and federal court experience defending employers and plan administrators in matters that involve claims for pension and welfare benefits and executive compensation, as well as claims based on discrimination, retaliation, and breach of fiduciary duties.
We have a solid record of success, whether it be defending a class action brought by participants in an ESOP plan or defending an individual claim for denial of health or disability benefits.
- Successfully defended the City of Chattanooga's Fire and Police Pension Fund at trial and on appeal against claims brought by police officers who alleged that they had been unconstitutionally denied the opportunity to obtain benefits under the Fire and Police Pension Fund. (Bryson v. City of Chattanooga, 2010 WL 3767161 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2010)).
- Actively represent several major disability carriers in defending disability claims under ERISA and non-ERISA group plans. These matters involve a wide range of issues including ERISA preemption, exhaustion of administrative remedies, denial of benefits, and breach of fiduciary duty. Recent wins include: Alexander v. Provident Life and Accident Ins. Co., 663 F.Supp.2d 627 (E.D. Tenn. 2009); Herin v. Prudential Ins. Co. of America, 660 F.Supp.2d 837 (E.D. Tenn. 2009); Gass v. Prudential Financial Ins. Co. of America, 2008 WL 2697554 (M.D. Tenn. 2008); Johnson v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada, 2008 WL 836364 (Tenn. App. 2008); Creech v. DeRoyal Industries, Inc., 2008 WL 3914455 (E.D. Tenn. 2008); and Gibson v. Prudential Ins. Co. of America, 513 F.Supp. 950 (E.D. Tenn. 2007).
- Successfully defended an international accounting and financial services corporation and its principal in a federal class action alleging prohibited transactions and breaches of fiduciary duty involving the assets of an ESOP in connection with the auction of a telecommunications company.
- Successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of an international manufacturing company in a suit by group of retirees claiming benefits under a separation pay plan. (Jackson v. Alstom Power, Inc., 193 Fed. Appx. 505 (6th Cir. 2006)).
- Represented a group of approximately 5,300 retirees with respect to ERISA issues arising in the bankruptcy of Delta Air Lines. Miller & Martin's efforts resulted in the preservation of medical benefits and allowance of an $800 million claim based upon nonqualified plans. Miller & Martin secured post-petition payments pending changes to the pilots' union contract, and was involved in extensive negotiations with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation regarding qualified plan benefits after plan termination.
- Successfully represented Delta Air Lines in case before the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court held employees' claims under New York's Human Rights Law was preempted by ERISA. (Shaw v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 463 U.S. 85).
- Negotiated delinquent contributions claims against employers in a joint-employer pension plan by the plan trustees and represented the employers in negotiating significant reductions in the alleged delinquencies.
- Successfully represented major airline carrier in multi-plaintiff arbitration proceeding involving claims arising out of elimination of lump sum retiree benefit.
- Successfully represented an employer in federal case where an employee claimed his severance package violated ERISA.