Byrne J. Decker

Office Managing Shareholder || Portland (ME)

Byrne Decker is the Office Managing Shareholder in the firm’s Portland, Maine office. Byrne has one of the most extensive ERISA/employee benefits litigation defense practices in the nation. He defends, on a nation-wide basis, benefits cases in both ERISA and non-ERISA contexts, including in particular, complex benefits cases and class actions. Byrne has appeared in district courts in every federal judicial circuit and has an active appellate practice with respect to benefits issues. He has authored several briefs and petitions to the United States Supreme Court in important ERISA cases, including amicus curiae briefs such as Black & Decker v. Nord and Yates v. Hendon.

Byrne serves as national counsel to several major life and disability carriers. He consults with in-house and other outside counsel on litigation matters and advises in-house counsel and business clients on claims and policy issues. Byrne is a frequent speaker and writer on benefits and ERISA topics and is currently Chair of DRI’s LHD/ERISA Committee.

Learn more about Byrne J. Decker

Byrne has defended thousands of ERISA and non-ERISA benefits cases to successful conclusion. In the last 12 months alone, Byrne and his team were retained as lead counsel in several hundred benefits cases in courts across the country. Recent victories include the following:

  • Fortier v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company, _F.3d_, 2019 WL 697989 (1st Cir. February 20, 2019)
  • Holzman v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company, 2019 WL 181527 (D. Mass. 2019)
  • Arabaitzis v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 1:16-CV-1273-TNM, 2018 WL 6530534 (D.D.C. 2018)
  • Christmas v. Sun Life Assur. Co., No. 3:17-CV-1568-KAD, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 211076 (D. Conn. 2018)
  • Hilbert v. The Lincoln National Life Ins. Co., 2018 WL 6172034 (3rd Cir. Nov. 26, 2018)
  • Loucka v. The Lincoln National Life Ins. Co., 2018 WL 5840662 (D. D.C. Nov. 7, 2018)
  • Yerington v. The Lincoln National Life Ins. Co., 312 F. Supp.3d 668 (S.D. Ohio 2018)
  • Caldwell v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, 271 F.Supp.3d 1252 (D. Wyo. 2017)
  • Davis v. Sun Life Assur. Co., 2017 WL 2841630 (D. MA. Sept. 1, 2017).
  • Hilbert v. The Lincoln National Life Ins. Co., 2017 WL 2633505 (M.D. PA. June 19, 2017)
  • Drach v. Sun Life Assur. Co., 2016 WL 5417191 (D. N.J. Sept. 28, 2016)
  • Ganter v. Sun Life Assur Co., No. 1:14-CV-1064, 2016 WL 1268288 (W.D. Ark. Mar. 31, 2016)
  • Gladstein v. Lincoln Fin. Grp., No. CA 14-390-ML, 2015 WL 5615173 (D.R.I. Sept. 23, 2015)
  • Jevelekides v. Lincoln Nat. Corp., No. 3:14-CV-1517 LEK/DEP, 2015 WL 3849312 (N.D.N.Y. June 22, 2015), appeal dismissed (Aug. 20, 2015)
  • Bradley v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada, No. 5:13-CV-05226, 2015 WL 8945492 (W.D. Ark. Mar. 31, 2015)
  • Merrimon v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 758 F.3d 46 (1st Cir. 2014) cert. denied, 135 S. Ct. 1182, 191 L. Ed. 2d 134 (2015) (judgment for insurer in ERISA class action challenging use of retained asset accounts for payment of life insurance proceeds)
  • Rainey v. Sun Life Assur. Co. of Canada, No. 3-13-0612, 2014 WL 7156517 (M.D. Tenn. Dec. 15, 2014) (judgment for insurer in defense of ERISA 502(a)(3) claim seeking $740,000 in equitable relief)
  • Decorpo v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., No. 13-CV-484-LM, 2014 WL 4794345 (D.N.H. Sept. 25, 2014)
  • Livingston v. Unum Provident, No. 2:14-CV-70-DBH, 2014 WL 4215433 (D. Me. Aug. 25, 2014)
  • Janiszewski v. Lincoln Nat’l Life Ins. Co., No. 5:13-CV-174, 2014 WL 10894550 (N.D.W. Va. Aug. 18, 2014)
  • Falk v. Life Ins. Co. of N. Am./Cigna Grp. Ins., No. 12-CV-178-JL, 2013 WL 5348189 (D.N.H. Sept. 23, 2013), appeal dismissed (Mar. 20, 2014)
  • Rizik v. Lincoln Nat. Life Ins. Co., No. 13-15102, 2014 WL 1048220 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 18, 2014)
  • Ellis v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., No. 2:13-CV-00080-JAW, 2014 WL 235212 (D. Me. Jan. 22, 2014)
  • Vander Luitgaren v. Sun Life Assur. Co. of Canada, 765 F.3d 59 (1st Cir. 2014) (judgment for insurer in ERISA class action challenging use of retained asset accounts for payment of life insurance proceeds)
  • Irgon v. Lincoln Nat. Life Ins. Co., No. CIV.A. 13-4731 FLW, 2013 WL 6054809 (D.N.J. Nov. 15, 2013) (judgment for insurer in ERISA disability case seeking $13,000 per month in benefits)
  • Neptune v. Sun Life Assur. Co. of Canada, No. 10-CV-2398, 2013 WL 5273785 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 16, 2013)
  • Garza v. Sun Life Assur. Co. of Canada, No. 7:12-CV-188, 2013 WL 1816989 (S.D. Tex. Apr. 29, 2013), appeal dismissed (Aug. 23, 2013) (judgment for insurer in ERISA claim seeking $500,000 in AD&D benefits based on bee sting)
  • Morshare v. Sun Life Assur. Co., No. 1:12-CV-2546-RLV, 2013 WL 11227722 (N.D. Ga. July 8, 2013)
  • Hilton v. UNUM Life Ins. Co. of Am., 967 F. Supp. 2d 1114 (E.D. Va. 2013)

Education

  • J.D., summa cum laude, American University, Washington College of Law, 1992
  • B.A., cum laude, Colby College, 1989

Admittance to Practice

  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court, District of Maine
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire
  • U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota
  • U.S. District Court, District of Vermont
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas
  • U.S. District Court, Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Northern and Western Districts of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Oklahoma
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First, Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth and Tenth Circuits

Professional Activities

  • DRI (Chair, Life, Health, Disability/ERISA Committee)

Speeches

  • DRI LHD Seminar - "Defending Plan Administrator Error Cases" - Boston - 2018
  • DRI LHD Seminar - "Defending ERISA Section 502(a)(3) Claims" - Chicago - 2016
  • 2018 - Co-author, American Bar Association - "First Circuit chapter of ERISA Survey of Federal Circuits"
  • 2016 - Co-author, American Bar Association - "First Circuit chapter of ERISA Survey of Federal Circuits"
  • 2015 - Co-author, Maine and New Hampshire chapters, Second Edition, American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section - "Misrepresentations in the Life, Health and Disability Insurance Application Process: A National Survey"
  • December 2014 - Co-author, For the Defense - "Who Would Have Thought? The Expansion of Remedies under ERISA"
  • June 14, 2018 - Bloomberg Big Law Business - "Workflows: Ogletree Opens Office in Maine"
  • Best Lawyers (2011-present)
  • Super Lawyers
  • AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell