Schlichter Bogard & Denton Reaches Preliminary $10.65 Million Settlement on Behalf of Duke University Retirement Plan Participants

On January 16, 2019, Schlichter Bogard & Denton filed a motion for preliminary approval of a settlement reached on behalf of Duke University employees and retirees in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The settlement will resolve two cases, filed in August 2016 and August 2018, alleging breach of fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The proposed settlement includes a $10.65 million settlement fund, as well as non-monetary relief.

“This settlement includes both financial compensation and non-monetary improvements to the plan going forward. It will enable Duke employees and retirees to improve their ability to build their retirement assets for years to come,” said Jerry Schlichter, managing partner of Schlichter Bogard & Denton. The case was among the first cases ever filed against a university alleging excessive retirement plan fees. Schlichter Bogard & Denton also filed the first-ever cases over excessive fees in 401(k) plans.

In addition to the settlement fund, Duke agreed to hire an independent consultant regarding bids for recordkeeping services, take steps to make it easier for participants to move investments out of frozen annuity accounts, consider the cost of different share classes of mutual funds in the plan, and refrain from using plan assets to pay salaries of employees who work on the plan.

Coverage of this story can be found here, here and here. For additional information about Schlichter Bogard & Denton’s ERISA and Financial Abuse practice, please contact Schlichter Bogard & Denton at 1-800-873-5297 or sbd@uselaws.com.