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2020 is shaping up to be a banner year for benefits law, with three ERISA cases already on the US Supreme Court’s docket and a number of other high-profile lawsuits at the circuit court level that could attract the justices’ attention.

While waiting on the high court’s ERISA decisions, lawyers are watching litigation trends develop in the lower courts and waiting to see if the high court picks up another two ERISA cases.

McDermott’s Richard J. Pearl contributes to a Law360 article that look at what 2020 may hold for benefits litigation.

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Originally published on Law360, January 2020

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/01/erisa-cases-to-watch-in-2020-all-eyes-on-the-high-court/

Student loan debt skyrocketed in the past decade, topping $1.5 trillion among millions of Americans. The crisis has prompted US employers to address it in their benefits programs.

McDermott’s Jeffrey M. Holdvogt contributes to a Plan Sponsor article that provides a review of how employers can help employees break free from the bind student loan debt has on financial wellbeing and retirement savings.

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Originally published on Plan Sponsor, December 2019

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/01/addressing-employees-student-loan-debt-in-2020/

Corporations looking to use partnerships to avoid the executive compensation deduction limitation may be out of luck. The new proposed regs (REG-122180-18) on the section 162(m) executive compensation deduction limitation include a rule on compensation paid by a partnership to an executive of a publicly held corporation that’s subject to the limitation.

McDermott’s Andrew C. Liazos contributes to a Tax Notes article that takes a look at these new regulations and what they mean for partnership arrangements.

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Originally published on Tax Notes, December 2019

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/01/exec-comp-regs-crack-down-on-partnership-arrangements/

In a relatively slow year for benefits rulings, multimillion-dollar settlements were the star of the show. And amid the slew of settlements this year, two court rulings stood out.

McDermott’s Richard J. Pearl contributes to a Law360 article that breaks down the Ninth Circuit ruling allowing benefit plan managers to force fiduciary-breach suits into solo arbitration and the Tenth Circuit holding that insurers who determine workers’ profits from 401(k) investments aren’t fiduciaries.

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Originally published by Law360, December 2019

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/01/the-biggest-erisa-decisions-of-2019/

The SECURE Act—the most significant piece of retirement plan legislation in more than a decade—is now law. Plan sponsors should immediately start considering how changes included in the SECURE Act could impact their retirement and health and welfare plans in 2020 and beyond.

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https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/01/finally-secure-opportunities-in-the-2019-secure-act-for-plan-sponsors/

Beginning January 15, 2020, new, more employer-friendly regulations determine how overtime pay is calculated under the Fair Labor Standards Act. We identified the top 10 things you should know about what is being changed or clarified.

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https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/01/top-10-things-to-know-about-the-new-flsa-overtime-calculations/

This year, the US Supreme Court will get a chance to say whether federal civil rights law protects gay and transgender employees from discrimination, and California courts will grapple with recent changes making it harder for Golden State businesses to label workers as independent contractors. McDermott’s Michael Sheehan looked at these and other cases to watch in 2020 in a recent article for Law360.

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Originally published by Law360, January 2020

https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2020/01/employment-cases-to-keep-an-eye-on-in-2020/

A decision in Texas v. United States was issued by a divided three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on December 18, 2019. This case presented once again the question whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is constitutional and sustainable, and questions of severability remain for the near future.

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https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2019/12/fifth-circuit-issues-aca-ruling-but-severability-question-remains/

As we wrote in a previous On the Subject, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had signaled that it might rehear its August 2019 decisions in Dorman v. The Charles Schwab Corp., in which the Court compelled arbitration of ERISA class-action claims relating to a 401(k) plan. After ordering additional briefing, however, the Ninth Circuit denied the plaintiff’s petition for rehearing, leaving the Court’s decisions unchanged and requiring the plaintiff to arbitrate his ERISA breach-of-fiduciary-duty claims.

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https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2019/12/ninth-circuit-decides-not-to-rehear-its-decision-requiring-arbitration-of-erisa-claims/

Recently, the Department of Labor (DOL) published final rules clarifying the circumstances under which “bona fide” groups or associations of employers and professional employer organizations (PEOs) may be permitted to sponsor single defined contribution multiple employer plans (MEPs). Concurrently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published proposed rules detailing an exception to the “one bad apple” rule for defined contribution MEPs, which rule provides that the failure of one employer to meet established qualification requirements results in the disqualification of the MEP for all participating employers.

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https://www.employeebenefitsblog.com/2019/12/dol-and-irs-expand-access-to-multiple-employer-plans-and-propose-to-eliminate-the-one-bad-apple-rule/