Employee Benefits Committee Newsletter

Issue: Spring 2015

About This Issue

The tax returns have been filed or extended, the six remaining teams on one of the longer races in professional sports, the Volvo Ocean Race have circumnavigated and have completed leg six from Itajai, Brazil to Newport, R.I., and the Supreme Court has heard the last of the oral arguments for this term. That makes it time for the first 2015 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:

  • Every once in a while your editors develop an idea for a "Point/Counterpoint" style article on an issue from practitioners with diametrically opposite viewpoints. M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett and the significance of the Court's rejection of UAW v. Yard-Man, Inc., 716 F.2d 1476 (6th Cir. 1983) seemed like a good candidate. So we asked Michael Alaimo and Brian Schwartz to collaborate with Joel Hurt and Pamina Ewing and see what they could agree on and what they could not. Anecdotal reports are that it was a spirited discussion which resulted in two separate articles:
    • Brian and Michael took the lead with Collectively Bargained Retiree Health and the Demise of Yard-Man--Employer Perspectives
    • Joel and Pamela offered their Response.
  • Once upon a time in a Congress not long ago that was not known for being able to agree on much, they were able to agree on some changes affecting multiemployer pension plans. In The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014, Joyce A. Mader and Dinah S. Leventhal describe the Act and their perspectives on it as plan counsel.
  • And speaking of Congress, every benefits lawyer's favorite topic of conversation, King v. Burwell, was argued after the Midwinter meeting. We asked one of the EBC members in attendance at the argument to provide views on the exercise. Erin Sweeney agreed and offers us "What Is Congress Hiding in its Mousetrap" Musings on King v. Burwell.
  • Many of us recall this year as being one of the better events in an already outstanding series of Midwinter meetings. Summing things up, the Co-Chairs offer their annual report on the event.
  • On a related note, while many of us were enjoying the Del Coronado, a coalition of the EBC members conducted a student outreach event at the University of San Diego School of Law and John Harney reports on the event.
  • EBC members do not live by PREGS, PLRs, and what the Department calls "sub-regulatory guidance," alone. In that spirit, we offer a new feature, Dining with Sarah Johnson. In the first of a two-part series, Sarah provides her review of the dining spots on Coronado which we the editors offer with the trigger alert it will make you hungry for fine food and thirsty for fine wine. In the second installment as we prepare for next year's meeting in Las Vegas (February 10-13 at the Four Seasons Hotel), Sarah will collect reviews and recommendations, and offer some thoughts on fine dining there so we can plan ahead.
  • 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.

Editors

Jim Nelson, Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Joanne Roskey, U.S. Department of Labor

Catha Worthman, Feinberg Jackson Worthman and Wasow, LLP

Doug Selwyn, Conner & Winters LLP

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