Ann helps business clients execute their strategic plans and comply with regulatory controls. The focus of her practice is employee benefits, ERISA and executive compensation. She has considerable experience counseling employers regarding the design, administration and termination of their employee benefit programs, including tax-qualified retirement plans, health and welfare plans, and executive compensation arrangements (including management incentive programs and nonqualified deferred compensation plans). As editor of the firm’s employee benefits blog — Employee Benefits Law Report
— and the ERISA preemption chapter of ERISA, A Comprehensive Guide
(published by CCH), Ann consistently reviews recent cases, legislation, regulations, and other employee benefits law developments and helps our clients understand how these changes may impact their organizations.
She defends employers, plan administrators, trustees, banks, insurers, investment managers, and other fiduciaries and service providers in a broad range of ERISA litigation matters, such as class action pension claims, employee stock ownership plans (ESOP) breach of fiduciary claims, multi-employer plan breach of fiduciary duty claims regarding investment management, bankruptcy trustee claims involving 403(b) plan assets, executive compensation top-hat benefit claims, and denial of medical and disability benefit claims.
In addition, as a CPA with a Master’s in Business Administration, Ann applies her years of financial consulting experience to help plan fiduciaries resolve technical issues with actuaries, third-party administrators, and other service providers. This includes assisting plan administrators, domestic relations attorneys, and financial advisors regarding qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs), qualified medical child support orders (QMCSOs), and strategies to access (or protect) assets. She also represents employers with respect to employee benefit matters before various governmental agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor. She assists employers with government filings and reports, audits, criminal investigations, voluntary compliance programs, determination letter requests and private letter ruling requests.
Ann advises employers regarding compliance with a variety of laws impacting employee benefits, including the Internal Revenue Code, ERISA, FMLA, ADA, ADEA, Title VII, COBRA, and HIPAA. This includes helping employers navigate through health care reform and keep up with the emerging guidance in this area. Ann works with employers in a wide variety of industries and settings, ranging from physician practices, to engineering consultants, to educators, to energy suppliers and manufacturers. She works with employers to develop creative, workable methods of ensuring compliance, such as establishment of multiple employer plans, qualified separate lines of business, and 401(k) safe harbor plans. When employers sponsor ESOPs or otherwise offer employees the opportunity to invest in employer stock, Ann offers advice concerning alternative program designs, fiduciary liability, and developing litigation trends. She also advises financial institutions regarding prohibited transaction exemptions.
Ann assists clients through corporate organizational changes impacting employees benefits, including mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, downsizing, severance, business succession, and transition of employees to a professional employer organization. She has performed due diligence and negotiated covenants, representation, and warranties in purchase and merger agreements. Ann assists clients with designing programs and employee communications to maintain satisfaction among non-collectively bargained employees, implementing new programs and design changes consistent with collective bargaining agreements, and assessing multi-employer plan exposure in corporate transactions.