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Dan is an associate in Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation and focuses on ERISA Litigation. His litigation practice ranges from complex class actions to individual benefit claims concerning all types of plans, including 401(k) and 403(b) plans, defined benefit plans and health and welfare plans.  Dan represents large corporations, individuals, multiemployer pension plans, insurers, benefit plan committees and independent fiduciaries.  Dan also advises clients on plan administration, benefits restructuring, risk assessment and government investigations.

Dan has coauthored multiple articles in the Benefits Law Journal and is a frequent contributor to Proskauer’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Blog.

Dan earned his B.A. from Northeastern University and his J.D. from Georgetown University.  He was a member of the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy.  During his first summer at law school and the following semester, he served in the Division of Plan Benefits Security at the United States Department of Labor in Washington D.C., where he was a Gary S. Tell ERISA Litigation Fellow.

In Bulk Transp. v. Teamsters Union No. 142 Pension Fund, No. 23-1563, 2024 WL 1230236 (7th Cir. Mar. 22, 2024), the Seventh Circuit held that the contributions used to calculate an employer’s withdrawal liability may include only the contributions the employer was required to remit pursuant to the terms of the parties’ collective bargaining

A California district court recently denied a motion to dismiss claims that the fiduciaries of a 401(k) plan breached their ERISA fiduciary duties of prudence and loyalty by selecting underperforming, high-cost investments and causing the plan to pay excessive fees for services.  The decision is notable for illustrating how pleading standards in investment performance and

We have previously blogged on the flurry of class action lawsuits challenging 401(k) plan investments in the BlackRock LifePath Index Target Date Funds. District courts around the country—seven of them in total—have granted motions to dismiss claims by 401(k) plan participants because their copy-cat allegations of underperformance were insufficient to raise a plausible inference of imprudence. That is, until now. Last week, a federal district court judge in the Eastern District of Virginia became the first to conclude that the participants’ allegations of imprudence related to the BlackRock Funds were plausible. Trauernicht v. Genworth, No. 22-cv-532, 2023 WL 5961651 (E.D. Va. Sept. 13, 2023).

In a case of first impression in the Tenth Circuit, the Court recently joined the chorus of circuit courts in holding that a 401(k) plan participant alleging excessive investment management or recordkeeping fees must assert a “meaningful benchmark” in order to survive a motion to dismiss.  In addition to rejecting commonly pleaded “benchmarks” because they were not meaningful, the Court’s ruling is of particular significance because, unlike some other courts, it dismissed the participants’ “share-class claim”—ruling on a motion to dismiss that their allegation that cheaper share classes of the same mutual fund were available to the plan was demonstrably false.  The case is Matney v. Barrick Gold, No. 22-4045, 2023 WL 5731996 (10th Cir. Sept. 6, 2023).

Two District Courts have reached conflicting decisions on the same day when ruling on substantially similar allegations that plan fiduciaries violated ERISA by paying too much for recordkeeping services, with one court dismissing the claims and the other court allowing the claims to move forward into the (often expensive) discovery phase of litigation.  The cases

In Holland v. Murray, No. 21-cv-567, 2023 WL 2645708 (D.D.C. Mar. 27, 2023), the court held that financial support provided by Congress to a multiemployer pension plan under the Bipartisan American Miners Act (“BAMA”) did not divest the plan of Article III standing to pursue the withdrawal liability it was owed.

In Central States v. Wingra, No. 21-cv-3684, 2023 WL 199360 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 17, 2023), the district court held that an employer expelled from a multiemployer pension plan may not owe withdrawal liability because the permanent cessation of the employer’s obligation to contribute was not voluntary.  While the court subsequently limited the decision as being for discovery purposes only (see Central States v. Wingra, No. 21-cv-3684 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 17, 2023)), the court allowed the employer to assert its challenge in the district court, rather than in arbitration, because the employer plausibly alleged that its expulsion from the plan was in bad faith.

A third district court has dismissed with prejudice a complaint alleging that defendants breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA by offering 401(k) plan participants the option to invest in BlackRock LifePath Index Target Date Funds (the “Funds”).  Beldock v. Microsoft, Case No. 22-cv-1082 (W.D. Wash. Apr. 24, 2023).  Although the outcome of the court’s ruling here is consistent with earlier decisions, the rationale underlying the Beldock decision arguably goes further than in prior rulings, thus providing additional food for thought.

On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Seventh Circuit issued its opinion in Hughes v. Northwestern University, concluding that participants in two Northwestern 403(b) plans plausibly pled fiduciary-breach claims based on allegations of excessive recordkeeping and investment management fees, but dismissed their claim that too many investment options caused them “decision paralysis.”  In

A district court in the Southern District of Ohio and one in the Western District of Wisconsin reached opposite conclusions on motions to dismiss claims for fiduciary breach based on allegations that recordkeeping fees were unreasonably high.  Dismissal was granted in Sigetich v. The Kroger Co., No. 21-cv-697, 2023 WL 2431667 (S.D. Oh. Mar.