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.

Shlonsky recognized for improving the legal profession and opening doors for women May 10, 2022 – Ulmer & Berne LLP is proud to announce that Cleveland Partner-in-Charge Patricia A. Shlonsky has been selected as the 2022 recipient of the Ohio State Bar Association’s (OSBA) Nettie Cronise Lutes Award. Shlonsky was presented with the...

February 11, 2020 – Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to share that Cleveland Partner-in-Charge Patricia A. Shlonsky has been reappointed to the Board of Trustees of the Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL). Shlonsky, a champion of public libraries, will serve a second seven-year term on the Board effective February 1, 2020. “Ulmer...

Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce Patricia A. Shlonsky, Cleveland Partner-in-Charge and Chair of the firm’s Employee Benefits and Tax Practice Groups, was recently inducted as a Fellow of The American College of Employee Benefits Counsel (ACEBC), a nonprofit dedicated to elevating the standards and advancing public understanding of...

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.