Premier Labor ERISA Lawyer Deepens Firm’s Existing ERISA Controversy and Transactional Strengths
Washington, D.C., September 14, 2009 – Miller & Chevalier Chartered today announced that Tess J. Ferrera has joined the firm’s ERISA and Fiduciary Litigation practice as a Member. She practiced previously in the Washington, D.C. office of Thompson Hine LLP. In addition, Michael Khalil, who was with the litigation practice of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, has joined the firm’s ERISA and Fiduciary Litigation practice as an associate.
Ferrera advises clients and defends them in litigation on a variety of issues, including the permissible use of plan assets, fiduciary considerations in making investment decisions, fiduciary obligations in selecting and monitoring service providers, and fiduciary obligations in negotiating vendor contracts. She has a proven track record representing clients that are under Department of Labor investigations and has extensive experience counseling clients on correcting fiduciary violations both through the U.S. Department of Labor correction program, as well as outside of that program. Ferrera has represented a diverse group of clients, including insurance companies, mutual funds, trade association multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs), professional employer organizations, investment committees, single employers, Davis-Bacon plans and court-appointed independent fiduciaries on complex ERISA counseling and litigation matters.
“Because of the value of the assets in employee benefit plans under ERISA and the millions of individuals covered, litigation surrounding ERISA has increased,” said Anthony Shelley, head of Miller & Chevalier’s ERISA and Fiduciary Litigation practice. “A growing number of lawsuits are being filed against plans, employer sponsors, and fiduciaries, as well as on behalf of beneficiaries against the PBGC, and ERISA litigation is expected to multiply over the next few years due to the turmoil in the marketplace. Tess brings a wealth of experience to our ERISA team and her background, including her representation of clients before the Department of Labor, will be of great value.”
ERISA and Fiduciary Litigation Practice
Miller & Chevalier’s ERISA and Fiduciary Litigation team routinely handles the varied types of litigation arising under ERISA, from complex class action claims to individual executive compensation claims. The group represents insurers, plan administrators, plan sponsors, fiduciaries, employers, and service providers before federal and state courts, the Department of Labor, and the Internal Revenue Service. The group also represents beneficiaries before the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and in the federal courts in matters against the PBGC.
The firm has represented national and international insurance companies, health maintenance organizations, large-scale employers, self-funded employee benefits plans, and ERISA participants. In ERISA litigation matters, Miller & Chevalier lawyers focus on prosecuting and defending breach of fiduciary duty issues under ERISA Section 404(a), as well as defense of ERISA benefits determinations. These matters have encompassed both ERISA pension plans and ERISA health benefits plans. In this regard, the firm currently represents both ERISA qualified and non-qualified pension plans in multi-million dollar breach of fiduciary duty actions against former fiduciaries.
“I am very pleased to be joining Miller & Chevalier – a firm that is recognized for its work in the ERISA and employee benefits areas, particularly because of its ability to navigate complex matters for its clients before the courts and the federal agencies that jointly administer ERISA,” said Tess Ferrera. “The firm is committed to continuing to expand its strong footprint in the ERISA litigation and transactional areas, and I look forward to helping the firm grow this practice, which is so critical in today’s marketplace.”
About Tess J. Ferrera
Before entering private practice, Ferrera worked for six years as a trial attorney for the Department of Labor (DOL), representing the Secretary of Labor in federal courts in numerous states litigating alleged violations of ERISA’s fiduciary and prohibited transaction provisions.
Ferrera is the author of the ERISA Fiduciary Answer Book and Senior Editor for the Journal of Pension Benefits. She is a frequent speaker at major employee benefits conferences. She holds a B.A. from George Washington University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
About Miller & Chevalier
Founded in 1920, Miller & Chevalier is a leading Washington, D.C. law firm with more than 100 lawyers who practice in the areas of tax, employee benefits, including ERISA; international law and business; complex litigation; and government affairs. For more information on the firm, visit www.millerchevalier.com.
Anthony Shelley, Member, Miller & Chevalier ERISA and Fiduciary Litigation practice, 202-626-5924
Laura Miller, Media Relations, Greentarget, 312-252-4104