Multiple Employer Plans: The Next Frontier in 401(k) Litigation? Jerry Schlichter Quoted by Investment News

Noting that “the law firm that pioneered 401(k) litigation, Schlichter Bogard & Denton, is behind several of the recent MEP cases,” Investment News sought input from managing partner Jerry Schlichter in an article discussing whether multiple employer plans (“MEPs”) “represent the next frontier in 401(k) litigation.” The article additionally highlights the firm’s $39.8 million preliminary settlement deal with Reliance and pending lawsuits against MEPs Pentegra and ADP TotalSource.

Asked whether MEPs represent a distinct area of interest for Schlichter Bogard & Denton, Jerry Schlichter opined, “I would not say there is a trend or that this is necessarily going to be an area of litigation in the future,” adding that the lawsuits the firm has brought against MEP providers do not share commonalities.

“Each MEP case, like any other 401(k) case, has to be looked at on its own facts,” Mr. Schlichter says. “The fiduciary duty is the same — to have prudent investments and reasonable fees.”

For fiduciaries aiming to avoid being sued, Mr. Schlichter has simple advice: operate “in the best interest of the participants, by making sure that the fees are reasonable and the investments are prudent. If they do that, then they shouldn’t have anything to worry about.”

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