Employee Benefits Committee Newsletter

Issue: Fall 2014

About This Issue

A light dusting of early snow greets the ABA headquarters in Chicago, one of the longer races in professional sports, the Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante Spain, and a new Supreme Court term opens. What other conclusion could be drawn from these events other than that it is time for the third 2014 edition of the EBC Newsletter? Our continuing efforts to address a broad spectrum of issues and developments of interest bring you the following offerings in this edition:

  • It appears that while a number of us agree the issues surrounding church plans are fascinating, not all of us agreed with Professor Norman Stein's viewpoint expressed last issue. Among these is G. Daniel Miller, who provides his insights in The Church Plan Definition--A reply to Norman Stein;
  • As your newsletter editors fearlessly predicted, a couple of our members have a few things to say about the Supreme Court's decision last term in Fifth Third Bancorp. v. Dudenhoeffer, and in this issue offer the following:
    • Life After Dudenhoeffer--Will It Really Be That Different, by Deborah Davidson;
    • Fifth Third Bancorp. v. Dudenhoeffer--New Avenues for Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims Based on Publicly-Traded Funds in a Post-Moench World by Darin Ranahan and Michael Fields.
  • Batting 1000 on fearless editorial predictions, it appears we have not heard the last from our members onBurwell v. Hobby Lobby and Lissa J. Paris offers a few of her musings in Random Thoughts on Hobby Lobby;
  • Richard Swartz and Claude Cazzulino offer their insights into the world of lower cost/lower benefit plans in their article: Health Care Reform--Skinny Health Plans
  • New Committee Union Co-Chair, Judith P. Broach, provides her thoughts and insights
  • Our annual fall feature "Circuit Round Up" is brought to us this year by Sean K. McMahan and Abbey M. Glenn, of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, who offer items of interest from the courts since our Midwinter Meeting; and
  • The ever popular As We Go to e-Press returns.

The members of the editorial board remain keenly interested in your feedback on whether we are capturing what you would like to see in your newsletter. They would also be delighted to discuss article ideas you may have. Those with thoughts on issues they would like to see addressed and/or thoughts on articles should contact one of the editors.

New Co-Chair Judith Broach: Statement of Introduction

I am honored and excited to begin a three-year term as Union Co-chair of the Employee Benefits Committee, effective August 2014. I succeed the irreplaceable Lisa Gomez, whose conscientiousness, creativity and great work set a daunting standard for any new co-chair. I am looking forward to partnering with my fellow co-chairs, Deborah Davidson, Karen Mock and Todd Jackson to build on the work of prior co-chairs who made this dynamic committee so successful.

I attended my first midwinter meeting in the early 1990's and was immediately hooked. The Committee was much smaller then--participants sat around in a large circle--but the quality of the presentations, the depth of the discussion and the camaraderie among participants of all constituencies were exceptional, and they remain so today. I always come away from the midwinter meeting feeling up to date on developments in the law and challenged to think more deeply about legal issues. The Committee has given me the opportunity to meet and interact with the best employee benefits lawyers in the country, many of whom have become personal friends. It has afforded me many opportunities for professional growth, including speaking at midwinter meetings and other conferences, working on the Employee Benefits Law treatise and having the ability to pick up the phone and call other Committee members to discuss a legal issue.

The Committee serves its members extraordinarily well, but there is always room to do better. Employee benefits law continues to expand, both through the enactment of new laws and the creative use of existing ones. In order to meet the needs of our members we must continue to think creatively about how we provide information and other resources at the midwinter meeting, in print and on the internet. We also need to continue to grow the Committee while keeping it a welcoming place for diverse members of all constituencies. I know I speak for my fellow co-chairs in urging you to help us meet those goals by providing your ideas to us and engaging actively in the Committee's work.


Jim Nelson, Greenberg Traurig

Kelly Lawson, U.S. Department of Labor

Catha Worthman, Lewis, Feinberg, Lee & Jackson

Doug Selwyn, Conner & Winters LLP

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