401(k) Fee Litigation / Gatekeeper Cases

SFMS is the leading firm in the United States when it comes to litigating 401(k) fee and gatekeeper cases — particularly claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") against insurance company "service providers" in the 401(k) marketplace. These cases challenge, among other things, the practice of insurance companies that offer 401(k) products to retirement plan customers (typically, small and medium sized businesses).

The Firm successfully prosecuted and resolved the first case of its kind in 2010. Since then, while other law firms litigating such cases have achieved limited or no success, SFMS has consistently prevailed in these cases, while achieving groundbreaking results for our clients. The 401(k) Fee/Gatekeeper cases in which our firm has served as lead counsel include the following significant matters:

  • Phones Plus, Inc. v. Hartford Life Insurance Co. and Neuberger Berman Management, Inc., 3:06-cv-01835-AVC (D.Conn.)(SFMS served as lead counsel in this nationwide class action under ERISA challenging revenue sharing practices with mutual funds and disclosures regarding the same and achieving a settlement valued at in excess of $80 million)
  • Healthcare Strategies, Inc. et al. v. ING Life Insurance & Annuity Co., 3:11-cv-00282-WGY (D.Conn.)(SFMS served as lead counsel in this nationwide class action under ERISA challenging revenue sharing practices with mutual funds and disclosures regarding the same and achieved a settlement valued at in excess of $100 million after securing certification of a nationwide class, denial of defendant's motion for summary judgment and a four week trial on liability issues; settlement is pending approval)
  • Butler National Corp. et al. v. Union Central Life Ins. Co., No. 1:12-cv-177 (S.D.Ohio)(SFMS served as lead counsel in this nationwide class action under ERISA challenging revenue sharing practices with mutual funds and disclosures regarding the same and achieving a settlement valued at in excess of $15 million; settlement is pending approval)
  • Golden Star, Inc. v. MassMutual Life Ins. Co., No: 3:11-CV-30235-PBS (D.Mass.)(SFMS serves as lead counsel in this nationwide class action under ERISA challenging revenue sharing practices with mutual funds and other related issues; class certification and summary judgment have been fully briefed; case is currently pending)

SFMS also has counseled a number of plan sponsors on fee and revenue sharing issues, and has taken the lead in litigating a number of cases on behalf of beneficiaries and participants in defined benefit, 401k, health insurance plans and other ERISA plans in connection with losses and other injuries suffered by those clients. For example, one of SFMS's attorneys is currently lead counsel in In re: BP ERISA Litigation, No. 4:10-md-02185 (S.D.Tex.)(currently on appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals).