Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

Cornerstone Research staff and experts have consulted and testified on a range of ERISA matters involving investment litigation, employee stock ownership plans, defined benefit and contribution plans, and deferred compensation plans.

Our work spans all stages of litigation, including exposure analyses, motion to dismiss, class certification, merits and expert support, mediation and settlement, and trial. These matters often require understanding of industry details and analysis of large datasets involving millions of transactions. We have considerable expertise working with and evaluating individual account-level transaction data across a range of plans and service providers.

ERISA Capabilities

Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) Disputes

In ESOP disputes, we have addressed issues involving both private and public company plans. Our experience includes Department of Labor investigations, internal investigations, and class action litigation. Our work has included:

  • Assessing and analyzing third-party valuation reports
  • Evaluating transaction structures
  • Estimating damages
  • Rebutting opposing expert analyses

401(k) and 403(b) Fee and Investment Litigation

Since the beginning of 401(k) excessive fee litigation, clients have retained Cornerstone Research in numerous 401(k) and 403(b) fee and investment cases involving plan sponsors and service providers. We have consulted and provided testimony support on many of the most high-profile matters, addressing topics that include:

  • Investment management fees
  • Record-keeping and administrative fees
  • Investment performance
  • Asset allocation
  • Capital preservation funds
  • Target-date funds
  • Fiduciary prudence
  • Investment selection and monitoring
  • Plan structures
  • Damages
  • Settlement support

Cornerstone Research maintains an extensive database of ERISA company stock drop and ERISA fee and investment litigation, allowing us to provide relevant historical data on cases and settlements to our clients.

Defined Benefit Plan Litigation

Cornerstone Research has worked on multiple cases involving multibillion-dollar defined benefit plans. Our experience covers:

  • Investment prudence
  • Investment strategy and performance
  • Use of alternative investments such as hedge funds and private equity
  • Most-favored-nation (MFN) clauses and other fee disputes
  • Economic issues related to cash balance conversion plans

Deferred Compensation Plan Litigation

We have addressed forfeiture and vesting provisions in a range of deferred compensation plans offered by financial institutions. We also have considerable expertise in evaluating employee-level compensation and transaction datasets. Our casework experience includes:

  • Analyzing participant data
  • Reviewing and assessing compensation structures
  • Researching industry processes and labor market competition
  • Estimating damages

401(k) Company Stock Drop Cases

Our staff and experts have addressed liability and loss causation in litigation involving drops in the price of company stock offered in 401(k) plans. Our work in this area includes:

  • Addressing class certification
  • Analyzing market efficiency and potential impact of disclosures
  • Analyzing viability of companies
  • Analyzing sophisticated investors’ investments
  • Addressing issuers’ and trustees’ allegedly insufficient disclosures of risk factors
  • Assessing volatility thresholds
  • Analyzing performance benchmarks
  • Providing settlement estimates and damages analyses