ERISA Litigation: Q&A with Conference Speaker Ron Peppe


Ron Peppe, Vice President Legal & Human Resources, Canam Steel Corporation, will be speaking at ACI’s 12 National Forum on ERISA Litigation, Monday, June 27 to Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at the Omni San Francisco in San Francisco, CA. In anticipation of the conference, check out our recent Q&A session with Ron Peppe. 1. After Amara and Montanile, what is appropriate equitable relief? Amara made it clear that equitable relief could include reformation of plan terms that were misleading or false, estoppel to put someone in the position they would have been in if the representations were true, or monetary compensation for a loss caused by a breach of fiduciary duty or to prevent unjust enrichment. Montanile further clarified that, based on traditional principals of equitable relief, any monetary relief from a settlement has to be obtained from the money received from the settlement or traceable proceeds of that money. 2. Will the Anthem decision regarding state laws and data breach claims help defendants in breach cases involving ERISA regulated benefit plans? Given the huge focus and liability for privacy claims nationwide, and the patchwork of state regulation, the Anthem decision helps defendants by stating that ERISA preempts state law claims regarding contract issues and unjust enrichment, and the state privacy laws. 3. How will the recovery of benefits by ERISA plans be affected by the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Montanile? Fiduciaries still have a duty to try to recover benefits, but, they now clearly have to move quickly before those funds become untraceable. This change arguably means fiduciaries have to be even more careful and move more quickly. 4. With reference to attorney’s fees, how do you decide what work is reasonably necessary to manage a case? In house counsel typically compare notes on attorney fees, and ask for budgets to compare the relative costs from firm to firm. Often the cost calculation is much more than just comparing hourly rates, since the total cost also depends on how many lawyers and hours a firm needs to throw at matter, and how they staff those hours with partners, associates, and other legal personnel. What is reasonable today may seem high tomorrow since firms are expected to keep reinventing the cost structure to lower the overall cost. 5. What are some tips for navigating ethical grey areas in ERISA litigation? As for outside advice and benchmark procedures and decisions against what everyone else is doing. They might all still be doing it wrong in the eyes of some judge, but it is easier to argue something was a reasonable interpretation if it is a widespread practice. 671L16_header               When: Monday, June 27 to Tuesday, June 28, 2016 Where: The Omni San Francisco Hotel, San Francisco, CA Learn More: http:/  Follow Us on Twitter:  @ACIEmployment  To join the conversation use #ERISA