ERISA Litigation

ERISA and Benefits Litigation
The Bowles Rice Benefits Group has an outstanding reputation for providing a wide array of services in the employee benefits arena.  In addition to drafting, compliance and advisory work, our ERISA litigation attorneys advise employers on understanding and carrying out the duties imposed upon them by ERISA’s complex rules and regulations.  Our ERISA litigation attorneys advise and represent clients in every stage of litigation from the pre-suit administrative process to appeals in state and federal courts.  Given  the complexity of the rules governing employee benefit plans and the constant change to these requirements, our ERISA Litigation Team has become an important part of the ERISA services we offer to our clients. 

Our Qualifications
Our ERISA litigators are uniquely suited for managing the nuances of ERISA’s substantive and procedural complexities.  Our ERISA litigators have substantive knowledge of both the labor and tax aspects of employee benefit plans derived from years of practice in these specialized areas, combined with hands-on litigation experience.  Our experience as ERISA compliance advisors gives us an edge in understanding the challenges faced by administrators and plan sponsors in applying these complex rules.

The ERISA Litigation Team is experienced in a broad array of ERISA matters from preemption issues to claims for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duties. We defend claims brought by participants and employees with respect to all types of employee benefit plans, including retirement plans, health and disability plans, severance plans and arrangements, life insurance plans and executive compensation arrangements and nonqualified retirement plans.

The ERISA Litigation Team has successfully defended ERISA matters in the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as various federal district courts and state courts.  We also advise clients at the pre-suit administrative stage to minimize the risk of litigation. 

Our attorneys stay abreast of recent labor and ERISA developments by participating in a wide variety of training and continuing education opportunities.  We have an extensive ERISA library, regularly participate in and attend national employee benefits seminars, conferences and institutes, and make extensive use of the leading computer databases to obtain the most current information regarding ERISA authorities and developments.

Bowles Rice is honored to be recognized by the leading peer review organizations, including:

  • Benchmark Litigation – Names Bowles Rice as "West Virginia Firm of the Year" for two consecutive years (2017 and 2018)
  • Benchmark Litigation – Lists Bowles Rice as a “Highly Recommended” firm in West Virginia
  • U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Law Firms – ranked “First Tier” in more than a dozen Litigation areas, including Antitrust, Bankruptcy, Commercial Matters, Construction, Environmental, Real Estate, Tax, Trust & Estates, Mass Torts & Class Actions, Personal Injury - Defendants, Product Liability - Defendants, Workers’ Compensation and nearly 20 other areas of law in metro areas where the firm has offices
  • Named a 2015 “Go-To Law Firm for the Top 500 Companies” in litigation by American Lawyer Media in Fortune magazine
  • Best Lawyers in America has recognized nearly 50 Bowles Rice attorneys, including 21 for areas of litigation
  • Chambers USA:  America’s Leading Lawyers for Business – lists Bowles Rice among "Top Ranked" firms in Litigation in West Virginia
  • LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell – Bowles Rice holds the highest level AV Preeminent rating
  • Prince v. Sears Holdings Corp., 2017 WL 383370 (4th Cir. 2017)
  • Robinson et al. v. Highmark West Virginia Inc. d/b/a/ Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of West Virginia, Civil No. 15-194 (Cir. Ct. Wood Cnty., W. Va. Jan. 11, 2016)

  • Prince v. Sears Holdings Corp., Civil No. 1:15-cv-6 (N.D.W. Va., Dec. 21, 2015)
  • Board of Educ. of Webster County v. Hanna, 764 S.E.2d 356 (W.Va. 2014)
  • Special Agents Mutual Benefit Assoc. v. Cowger, 2014 WL 1048546 (N.D. W. Va. 2014)
  • Feamster v. Mountain State Blue Cross & Blue Shield, 502 Fed.Appx. 278 (4th Cir. 2012)
  • Guyan Intern., Inc. v. Professional Benefits Adm’rs, Inc., 2011 WL 4975322 (N.D. Ohio 2011)
  • Feamster v. Mountain State Blue Cross &  Blue Shield, 2010 WL 2854302 (S.D. W.Va. 2010)
  • Thomas v. Wells Fargo Ins. Services of WV, 2010 WL 3702666 (S.D. W. Va. 2010)
  • Deem v. BB&T Corp.,279 Fed.Appx. 283 (4th Cir. 2008)
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