ERISA Litigation

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Briggs and Morgan has extensive experience in ERISA litigation, which is handled by shareholders in both our business litigation and labor and employment sections. With one of Minnesota's largest employment litigation and employee benefits groups, Briggs and Morgan regularly represents employers, insurers, third-party administrators and self-funded plans that are faced with major benefits litigation. Specifically, our attorneys have assisted clients in defending against allegations regarding denial of benefits, improper claim processing, denial of requests for information, ERISA preemption issues and breach of fiduciary duty.

In addition to ERISA litigation in the district courts, Briggs' seasoned appellate attorneys are available to handle client appeals in federal and state appellate courts, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th, 8th and 9th Circuits. As your legal advocate, we are well equipped to craft winning arguments for any ERISA case to secure a more favorable outcome. Among our appellate group, we have respected fellows of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers; leaders of key appellate practice committees for the 8th Circuit Bar, Minnesota State Bar and American Bar associations, the Defense Research Institute, Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association; and contributing writers and editors of recognized state and federal appellate treatises.

We understand that insurers and third-party administrators often confront repeat ERISA litigation issues. In every possible matter, members of our team will work closely to assist clients in successfully obtaining a court order that affirms the companies proper exercise of discretion. As a complement to our ERISA litigation services, members of our employee benefits group provide litigation support that is grounded in familiarity and strong technical knowledge of ERISA procedures and remedies, requirements, and interaction with employment and tax laws, striving to lead each client to a positive result.

Representative ERISA Litigation Experience

  • Helen Nelson v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America and Jostens Inc. No. 06-2411-CV, 2007 WL 1120347 (2d Cir. April 17, 2007): Affirming dismissal based on ERISA preemption grounds in successful defense of employer in LTD benefit case;
  • Neuman v. AT&T, 376 F.3d 773 (8th Cir. 2004): Affirmed summary judgment on claims of disability discrimination and worker's compensation retaliation, and denial of disability benefits on grounds of ERISA preemption;
  • Petersen v. E.F. Johnson Co., 366 F.3d 676 (8th Cir. 2004): Affirming the right of ERISA plans to condition the receipt of plan benefits on a participant's execution of a release of claims;
  • DuMond v. Centex Corp., 172 F.3d 618 (8th Cir. 1999): Affirming denial of disability benefits based on claim of chronic fatigue syndrome;
  • Mancini v. The Equitable Life Assurance, No. 98-CV-1846 (D. Minn. Aug. 3, 1999): Entering judgment in favor of denial of disability benefits based on claim of hypertension and diabetes;
  • Successfully defending against multi-million dollar disability claim brought by regional manager against large life insurance company;
  • Bennett v. Federated Mut. Ins. Co., 141 F.3d 837 (8th Cir. 1998): Affirming dismissal of ERISA claim;
  • Representation of LTD plan administrator, Travelers Insurance Company, in numerous federal court actions challenging denial of benefits; and
  • Mohrmann, et al. v. AT&T, 45 F.3d 433 (8th Cir. 1994): Affirming summary judgment on ERISA claims of breach of fiduciary duty, denial of benefits, and related wrongful termination claims.

Our blog, Minnesota Employer, is intended to provide practical employment law information concerning federal and state employment laws for Minnesota employers. Posts discuss employment issues, litigation, legislation and other matters that have an impact on employers.