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April 19, 2024

About This Issue

With the 2024 Employee Benefits Committee Midwinter Meeting in the rear-view mirror, we look back on the successful event in San Diego with a few words from our Co-Chairs. Additionally, this issue of the Employee Benefits Committee Newsletter contains several articles addressing key issues and developments in the benefits world, including:

  • E. Brantley Webb, Ankur Mandhania and Kaushik K. Goswami of Mayer Brown, LLP analyze the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division’s denial of American Airline’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s complaint in Spence v. American Airlines, Inc., challenging American Airlines’ selection and retention of multiple investment funds in its retirement plan by violating their  fiduciary duties in which the investment managers pursued “non-financial” ESG goals more broadly through proxy voting and other methods.
  • Katherine B. Kohn, Dominic DeMatties, Brian J. Lamb, Brian L. Gaj and Nate Ingraham of Thompson Hine LLP take a deep dive into Pension Risk Transfers litigation by focusing on two representative class-actions:
    • AT&T Inc and AT&T Services, Inc. is defending a class-action in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts for a case filed March 11, 2024, relating to the 2023 transfer of $8 billion of their pension liabilities – covering approximately 96,000 participants in AT&T’s pension plan – to Athene Holding Ltd. (Athene). State Street Global Advisors Trust Company (State Street), which served as the independent fiduciary for the transaction, was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
    • Lockheed Martin Corporation is defending a similar lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland relating to two separate transfers of pension plan liabilities to Athene: a transfer in 2021 of $4.9 billion of Lockheed Martin’s pension liabilities, covering 18,000 pension plan retirees and beneficiaries, and a transfer in 2022 of $4.3 billion of pension liabilities, covering 13,600 pension plan retirees and beneficiaries. The transfers included liabilities from both Lockheed Martin’s hourly and salaried pension plans.
  • Mayoung Nham of Slevin & Hart, P.C. and Mark DeBofsky of DeBofsky Law Ltd., both of whom are Council Members of the U.S. Department of Labor Advisory Council, report on Long-Term Disability Benefits and Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. They report on the impact of duration limitations on Long-Term disability benefits caused by mental health and substance abuse disorders.
  • Peter Dickinson, Bush Gottlieb, a Law Corporation, summarized his presentation at the Midwinter Meeting with a brief report on the California Rural Legal Assistance program founded in 1966 providing free direct legal assistance to California’s indigent citizens.
  • Our Employee Benefits Committee Co-Chairs provide a post-mortem on the successful 2024 Midwinter Meeting held in San Diego, California. A photograph of our Co-Chairs is also included. Please say hello to them at the Midwinter Meeting to be held in Savannah, Georgia, on February 5-8, 2025.
  • John Harney reports on his successful leadership of the 2024 Employee Benefits Committee Law School Outreach Program held in conjunction with the annual Midwinter Meetings at local law schools. This year he and his teams visited with law students from California Western School of Law and University of San Diego. Of course, John would not allow a report to go without photographs, conveniently contained herein.
  • The American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, Inc. announces the opening of nominations of Fellows to the College with a deadline for submission of June 15, 2024. A summary of the details is contained in the notice with full details, rules and procedures at
  • The ever popular “As We Go To E-Press.

The Co-Editors of the Newsletter remain keenly interested in your feedback on whether we are capturing what you would like to see in your Newsletter. We would also be delighted to discuss any article ideas you may have and greatly appreciate all submissions. If you are interested in contributing an article or have thoughts on issues you would like to see addressed in a future edition, please contact one of the editors. We would love to hear from you.

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EBC Newsletter Co-Editors:

Richard E. Nowak
Douglas M. Selwyn
Mark Thomson

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