ERISA Litigation


We have handled numerous employee benefits litigation matters, using the team approach, with a member of the employee benefits practice and a member of the firm’s business litigation practice. It’s key to be able to represent businesses of all sizes, fiduciaries, insurers and financial providers in connection with ERISA disputes on a regular basis. That can include handling routine claims for benefits, breach of fiduciary duty claims, wrongful termination of employment for purposes of denying employee benefits (510 claims), defense of employers against multiemployer benefit plan claims, representation of plan administrators in connection with qualified domestic relations order disputes and representation of clients in connection with litigation brought by governmental entities.

Press Release The City Club of Cleveland recently announced that Patricia A. Shlonsky, partner-in-charge of Ulmer & Berne’s Cleveland office, has been appointed to their Board of Directors. “As soon as Patty became a City Club member, she jumped in and started making a difference,” said Dan Moulthrop, CEO, The...

Press Release Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Businesses recognized Ulmer & Berne LLP for the 15th consecutive year as a leading law firm. The guide is the culmination of thousands of in-depth interviews, carried out by the largest research team of its kind. Chambers recognizes nine of the firm’s partners and...

Ronald L. Kahn will receive the Ramey Award for Distinguished Community Service at the Ohio State Bar Foundation’s Annual Awards Dinner on October 7. This honor is given annually to an Ohio attorney whose career has been exemplified by a lifetime of service to the public and the community. Ron,...

Ulmer & Berne is proud to announce that Cleveland-based partner Patricia A. Shlonsky has been named a 2016 Client Choice award recipient. Each year, Client Choice, in conjunction with Lexology and International Law Office (ILO), conducts extensive client-based research to find the attorneys around the world who stand out for...

Ulmer & Berne is ranked in 39 categories in the 2016 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings. Among these, the firm earns U.S. News – Best Lawyers highest rankings in 21 categories. The firm also ranks nationally in 16 categories. Firms included in the 2016 “Best Law...

“Insurance, Capital Markets and Book Reviews: New Blogs Joining the LexBlog Network” LexBlog: Real Lawyers Have Blogs September 11, 2015

“Michael Nathan Ungar | Ulmer & Berne LLP” Cleveland Jewish News January 15, 2015 Perennial Super Lawyer Michael Nathan Ungar considers settlement of a dispute embroiling Case Western University among his most memorable cases of 2014. Read the full article »

Ulmer & Berne LLP has been ranked within the top 10 percent of all law firms by The BTI Consulting Group, one of the nation’s leading legal industry research firms, in their recently published 2015 BTI Litigation Outlook report. The firm was selected as a “Litigation Powerhouse” and is named...

Ulmer & Berne LLP was named 2014 Ohio Firm of the Year by Benchmark Litigation at the second annual Benchmark Litigation US Awards held at the Essex Hotel in New York City on January 29, 2014. The US Benchmark Awards were based on a six-month research period involving extensive interviews...

“Female Powerbrokers Q&A: Ulmer & Berne’s Patty Shlonsky” Law360 January 2, 2014

Representative Experience

  • Defended international financial services company in a claim for medical benefits. This case was settled.
  • Defended wholesale distributor in connection with a class action filed with respect to 401(k) benefits. This case was settled.
  • Defended national employee benefits administrator in connection with a breach of fiduciary duty claim involving beneficiary of life insurance proceeds. Successfully negotiated favorable resolution.
  • Represented third party administrator in connection with claims for distribution and breach of fiduciary duty related to failure to diversify plan assets and succeeded in having numerous claims dismissed, pending.
  • Defended international telecommunications company in connection with pension plan participant’s claim for benefits in excess of actual entitlement. Motion to dismiss granted; case settled on favorable terms while appeal pending.
  • Obtained summary judgment for international telecommunications company in the defense of claims that plaintiff was improperly denied disability benefits and that plaintiff’s employment was terminated for the purpose of interfering with plaintiff’s rights under ERISA. This case was settled on favorable terms after plaintiff appealed to the Sixth Circuit.
  • Represented international telecommunications company against a claim that its failure to credit service under the Pension Plan for maternity leave taken prior to the enactment of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act violated Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, Ohio’s sex discrimination laws and ERISA.
  • Obtained summary judgment for financial holding company in connection with its exercise of its rights of reimbursement and subrogation under its self-insured medical plan. Also defended counterclaim against this company for breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA.
  • Represented a banking and trust company in a breach of fiduciary duty claim arising out of alleged failure to timely invest plan assets.
  • Defended national paint manufacturer in connection with a series of multi-employer pension plan withdrawal liability disputes. The case proceeded through arbitration, all the way to the United States Supreme Court and was ultimately settled.
  • Defended financial services company in a dispute over employee’s entitlement to death benefit related to dependent life insurance, and claims of breach of fiduciary duty. Obtained summary judgment at trial court level; affirmed on appeal.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a client accused of breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA for failing to provide spousal death benefit coverage to employee. Summary judgment affirmed on appeal by the Tenth District Court of Appeals.
  • Defended national banking institution, accused of breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA for failing to timely invest participants’ contributions to the pension and profit-sharing plan of a major insurance carrier.