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Medical Malpractice Reforms Favor Long Term Care Industry, Could Result in a Flurry of Lawsuits Before the Reforms Take Effect

BY: ELIZABETH D. SCOTT & JONATHAN R. BUMGARNER On July 25, 2011, the North Carolina House voted to override Governor Perdue's veto and approve a broad overhaul of North Carolina's medical malpractice laws. Ratified Senate Bill 33 expands the definition of "medical malpractice...

Williams Mullen: Civil Suit Challenging North Carolina Medicaid Appeal Procedures

BY: MARCUS C. HEWITT A civil suit recently filed in North Carolina could affect who decides appeals of agency decisions related to the North Carolina Medicaid program, which could in turn affect the difficulty of appealing agency decisions by the Division of Medical Assistance. Background - Recent...

Williams Mullen: Corporate Spin-Off and a New Retirement Plan Did Not Violate Employees’ Rights Under ERISA: Nauman v. Abbott Laboratories

BY: MARK S. THOMAS & ROBERT W. SHAW The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has affirmed [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ] a trial judgment against a class of former employees of Abbott Laboratories ("Abbott"), ruling against their claim that Abbott used...

Williams Mullen: IRS Grants Extension of Time to Make Late Portability Election

BY: JOHN H. TURNER, III & JEFFREY D. CHADWICK In December 2010, Congress created a new right of "portability" between spouses,to remedy the circumstance in which spouses were unable or unwilling to engage in estate tax planning. For deaths occurring in 2011 and 2012 only, the applicable...

Williams Mullen: Fiduciary Not Liable For Money Damages in Action to Recover Death Benefits: Stocks v. Life Insurance Company of North America

BY: MARK S. THOMAS & ROBERT W. SHAW A federal district court recently applied the U. S. Supreme Court's decision in CIGNA Corp. v. Amara (2011) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], in a practical setting that illuminates both the range and the limits of the Supreme Court's...

EEOC Final Rule Clarifies Age Discrimination in Employment Act Defense

BY: DAVID C. BURTON & REBA MENDOZA On March 29, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") issued a final rule amending the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") regulations in the wake of the United States Supreme Court's decisions in Smith v. City...

Williams Mullen: EEOC Final Rule Clarifies Age Discrimination in Employment Act Defense

BY: DAVID C. BURTON & REBA MENDOZA On March 29, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") issued a final rule amending the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") regulations in the wake of the United States Supreme Court's decisions in Smith v. City...

Williams Mullen: Wealth Transfer Planning in 2012: Perfect Storm of Opportunity

BY: FARHAD AGHDAMI 2012 may present the single greatest opportunity for wealth transfer planning in recent memory. A $5.12 million gift tax exemption, combined with low interest rates and historically low valuations for many asset classes, creates an ideal environment for wealth transfer planning....

Williams Mullen: Retirement Plans’ Fiduciaries Are Found Liable to Plans for $36.9 Million: Tussey v. ABB, Inc.

BY: MARK S. THOMAS & ROBERT W. SHAW In Tussey v. ABB, Inc. , No. 2:06-cv-04305 (Western District of Missouri, March 31, 2012) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], a class action case brought by present and former employees of ABB, Inc., the U. S. District Court for the Western...

Williams Mullen: Eleventh Circuit Rules That Home Depot Plan Fiduciaries Did Not Breach Their Duties Related to the Plan’s Company Stock Fund: Lanfear v. Home Depot, Inc.

BY: MARK S. THOMAS & ROBERT W. SHAW In Lanfear v. Home Depot, Inc. , No. 10-13002 (11th Cir. May 8, 2012) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit joined five other federal circuit courts in adopting a presumption that, in the absence...

Williams Mullen: Gift and Creditor Protection Planning with Virginia’s New Self-Settled Spendthrift Trust Statute

BY: FARHAD AGHDAMI & JEFFREY D. CHADWICK On April 4, 2012, Governor McDonnell signed Senate Bill 11 into law, which permits the creation of "self-settled spendthrift trusts" in Virginia. A self-settled spendthrift trust is an irrevocable trust in which the grantor retains a beneficial...

Williams Mullen: Virginia Enacts Trust Decanting Statute

BY: FARHAD AGHDAMI & JEFFREY D. CHADWICK On April 4, 2012, Governor McDonnell signed Senate Bill 110 into law, which allows trustees to exercise the power to distribute trust income or principal to or for the benefit of a beneficiary by distributing the assets to a new trust. The act of distributing...

Williams Mullen: Matching Contribution Feature Subjects 403(b) Plan to ERISA

BY: CATHERINE M. MARRIOTT & NONA K. MASSENGILL Tax-exempt entities that sponsor IRC Section 403(b) plans typically operate their plans to avoid the application of ERISA. ERISA will not apply if the plan can satisfy a safe harbor exemption. Central to the safe harbor is limited employer involvement...

Williams Mullen: McCravy v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.: Recognizing A Broader Scope for ERISA’s Equitable Remedies

BY: MARK S. THOMAS & ROBERT W. SHAW The Fourth Circuit has reversed an earlier position and now recognizes a broader scope for equitable remedies available to ERISA plaintiffs following the U. S. Supreme Court's decision in CIGNA Corp. v. Amara , 131 S. Ct. 1866 (2011) [ enhanced version available...

Williams Mullen: Seventh Circuit Allows Retaliation Claim By Complaining Plan Participant

BY: MARK S. THOMAS & ROBERT W. SHAW The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit revived a former employee's retaliation lawsuit against his employer even though his claim was based on an informal, unwritten inquiry about his retirement benefits. In George v. Junior Achievement of Central...

Williams Mullen: Retirement Plan Plaintiffs Were Not Required To Exhaust Administrative Remedies Before Filing Their Class Action

The Second Circuit has held that a putative class of ERISA plaintiffs was not required to exhaust a plan's administrative remedies prior to filing claims for a redetermination of future retirement benefits and alleged irregularities in plan amendments. ...