Employee Benefits

Lindabury’s Employee Benefits group advises Taft-Hartley Boards of Trustees on the design, implementation, management and tax implications of multiemployer plans. In addition to advising multiemployer defined benefit pension funds, defined contribution funds, welfare funds and joint apprenticeship training funds on compliance and administration issues; our team also handles litigation in federal, state and bankruptcy courts including fiduciary, withdrawal liability and denial of benefits claims; prepares plan determination letter submissions, and handles investigation, audit and correction issues with the Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service and Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. We have also counseled Boards of Trustees on planning issues arising from merger and consolidation of these plans and from the merger of the associated unions or trade associations.

With more than 50 years of experience representing dozens of employee benefit funds across the United States, Lindabury’s Employee Benefits group is adept at spotting issues and providing guidance. Our experience navigating the complexities of employee benefits law, including ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code, allows us to offer Boards of Trustees a diverse perspective so they may act in the best interest of participants and remain compliant with applicable law.

Throughout our long and established history serving as counsel to multiemployer funds and experience as professional trustees, we have developed an understanding and working relationship with the regulatory agencies who oversee these plans including the Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

Areas in which we provide counsel to multiemployer plans include:

Plan Creation and Trust Maintenance
  • Periodic review and update of Plan and Trust documents
  • Review of Plans, Summary Plan Descriptions, Summary Material Modifications and Annual Reports
  • Submission of plan determination letter requests and private letter rulings to IRS
  • Ensure compliance with ERISA, internal requests, IRS and EBSA guidance
  • Legal compliance review and preparation of plan amendments
  • Review of IRS Form 5500’s and 990’s for legal compliance
  • Ensure policies and procedures are in place and legally compliant
  • Negotiation of investment and service provider contracts
  • Monitor compliance and changes to investment policy statement and asset allocations
  • Periodic review of plan participant 404(c) education and fiduciary obligation
  • Review participant and contributor communications and requests
  • Counsel on Summary of Benefits and Coverage legal requirements
  • Advise on impact of mergers and consolidations on plan structure and design
Plan Governance
  • Provide counsel at trustee meetings
  • Review of meeting minutes and plan communications
  • Address plan administration inquiries
  • Advise boards of trustees on fiduciary best practices
  • Counsel boards on due diligence obligations and investment manager searches
  • Counsel plan administrators and trustees on fiduciary responsibilities
  • Advise on fiduciary responsibility and fiduciary risks in the investment of plan assets
  • Guidance on private placements, offshore, real estate and other alternative investments
  • Counsel on pension benefits, Pension Protection Act obligations and Multiemployer Pension Reform
  • Review pension benefit plan appeals
  • Preparation of Participation Agreements, Alumni Agreement and policies on plan participation.
  • Advise on healthcare compliance, health care reform and Affordable Care Act obligations
  • Research and advise on wellness initiatives and compliance
  • Advise on health benefit appeals and health plan design changes
  • Ensure compliance with HIPAA and COBRA
  • Preparation of Business Associate Agreements
  • Review and counsel of Prescription Benefits and Pharmacy Benefit Manager contracts
  • Advise on Prohibited transactions under ERISA and Internal Revenue Code
  • Advise trustees on continued plan and tax qualification
  • Self and voluntary-correction under IRS and Department of Labor compliance programs
  • Representation of Boards of Trustees in connection with governmental investigations and compliance audits
  • Review of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders
  • Advise on limited applicability of various state laws
  • Advise trustees on legal compliance issues, upcoming reforms, legal challenges, enforcement initiatives, guidance issued and good governance issues.
  • Review plan investment policies and asset allocation compliance for fiduciary risk
  • Advise on annuity plan benefits, vesting, benefit accrual and benefit payments.
  • Ensure JATC compliance with apprenticeship training standards
  • Advise JATC Boards on recruitment, retention, discipline, discrimination and advancement issues for JATC programs
  • Advise trustees on plan employee discipline, rights, hiring, firing and discrimination issues
  • Review, negotiate and draft employment, severance, change-in-control, and non-compete agreements
  • Negotiation of building lease agreements, purchase of land and buildings, permitting and representation in municipal compliance issues
  • Representation of boards of trustees in joint lease arrangements among plans
  • Legal analysis of fiduciary and stop-loss insurance and surety bonding
  • Prepare Requests for Proposals for plan consultants and providers
  • Negotiation of provider and vendor contracts
  • Counsel on procedures for collecting employer contributions and settlement of plan claims
  • Advise on payroll audit compliance programs
  • Advise on upcoming legislation, draft public comments and testify on proposed legislation affecting plans and multiemployer plan trustees
  • Advise on industry promotion funds and job targeting funds
  • Draft discretionary investment management agreements, side-letter agreements, investment policy statements, custodial agreements and service provider agreements
  • Design and implement executive compensation, defined compensation, excess benefit and supplemental retirement plans
Litigation
  • Defend boards of trustees in Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service audits and investigations
  • Represent boards of trustees in participant appeals of denials of benefits and disability pension awards
  • Defend boards of trustees in employer withdrawal liability assessments
  • Enforcement of collection actions in welfare plan subrogation matters
  • Represent boards in claims asserted by plans against plan service providers
  • Represent trustees in co-fiduciary liability and deadlock arbitration matters
  • Represent boards in actions to remove a trustee and board governance issues
  • Handle breach of fiduciary claims and prohibited transactions affecting participants and co-fiduciaries
  • Defend challenges to plan rules
  • Advise boards on collection and delinquent contribution claims, employer bonding and payroll compliance audit programs
  • Represent plan participants and beneficiaries with respect to eligibility, benefit denials and allegations of breaches of fiduciary duty
Representative List of Multiemployer Plans We Counsel

Co-Counsel to Board of Trustees

  • Pipefitters Local Union No. 274 Employee Benefit Funds
  • Steamfitters Local Union No. 475 Employee Benefit Funds
  • Plumbers Local Union No. 24 Employee Benefit Funds
  • Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union No. 9 Employee Benefit Funds
  • Refrigeration, Air-Conditioning and Service Division (U.A.-N.J.) Employee Benefit Funds
  • IBEW Local 102 JATC
  • IBEW Local 456 Employee Benefit Funds
  • IBEW Local 400 Employee Benefit Funds

Professional Trustee Appointments

  • IBEW Local 102 Employee Benefit Funds
  • IBEW Local 164 Employee Benefit Funds
  • IBEW Local 400 Employee Benefit Funds
  • New Jersey Electrical Workers Temporary Disability Benefit Trust Fund
  • Plumbers Local Union No. 17 Employee Benefit Funds of Memphis, TN
  • Steamfitters Local Union No. 614 Employee Benefit Funds of Memphis, TN
  • Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 21 of Peekskill, NY
  • Recently completed assignments:
    • U.A. Local 502 Employee Benefit Funds of Louisville, Kentucky
    • Plumbers & Steamfitters UA Local 486 Pension and Medical Funds of Baltimore, Maryland

Special Legal Counsel to Related Trade Associations and Industry Funds

  • Mechanical Contracting Industry Council of New Jersey
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Akron, Ohio
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Cleveland, Inc.
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Colorado
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of East Central Illinois
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Hudson Valley
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Iowa
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Kentucky
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Maryland
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Middle Tennessee
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of New Jersey, Inc.
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of New York, Inc.
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Omaha
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Rockland, Orange & Sullivan Counties
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of South Florida
  • New England Mechanical Contractors Association
  • Northern New Jersey Chapter, Inc. of National Electrical Contractors Association
  • Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors Authority of Northern Illinois
  • Plumbing Contractors Association of Chicago & Cook County
  • Plumbing Council of Chicagoland
  • St. Joseph Valley Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association

Fiduciary Liability Defense Counsel

Approved counsel for all fiduciary liability insurance claims with St. Paul Travelers, defending Trustees of both single and multi-employer plans before the United States District Court and investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service.