At The Podium

ERISA Fiduciary Litigation

Date: April 29, 2014

Event: American Conference Institute’s 7th National Forum on ERISA Litigation

Venue: The Omni Chicago Hotel

Location: Chicago, Illinois

2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974, the federal law that sets minimum standards for pension plans in private industry. To mark the occasion, the American Conference Institute is hosting its 7th National Forum on ERISA Litigation in Chicago, IL. The two-day event provides expert strategies for leading in-house and outside counsel on litigating today’s key issues involving benefit plans, plan investments, and fiduciaries.

Mark Spencer, a McAfee & Taft trial lawyer with extensive experience litigating ERISA-related claims, is a featured guest panelist on the topic of “ERISA Fiduciary Litigation: Minimizing exposure to fiduciary liability through procedural prudence and documentation, new and emerging theories of liability and defenses, strategies for statute of limitations and statute of repose defenses, and more.” Specific topics covered include:

  • Best practices for limiting fiduciary liability
  • “Procedural” prudence and documentation of process
  • Assessing claims of breach of fiduciary duty relating to proprietary funds
  • Determining who the ERISA plan fiduciaries are and defeating plaintiffs’ attempts to delineate the plan fiduciaries
  • Winning dismissal of improperly-named defendants
  • Assessing new and emerging theories of liability from the plaintiffs’ bar
  • Developing effective defense strategies against new plaintiffs’ theories
  • Arguments that start claim accruals early and support 413(1)(a) fiduciary breach claim statute of repose
  • Whether the “actual harm” element of a fiduciary breach turns on individual reliance
  • What to do when a fiduciary finds out that a plan trustee has made an investment that has suffered a loss
  • Assessing the available remedies and damages when fiduciary liability is determined
  • Defending against a DOL, DOJ or SEC investigation
  • The “continuing violation” theory and the statute of limitations
  • Releases: extension of general releases; release application
  • Can a “properly” worded release preclude plaintiff from initiating, taking part in, or benefitting from a breach of fiduciary duty class action?


Mark D. Spencer