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Practice Group

ERISA Litigation

Ogletree Deakins has one of the largest teams of employee benefits, executive compensation, and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) litigation practitioners in the United States. As part of a firm that focuses on labor and employment law, Ogletree Deakins’ ERISA Litigation Practice Group applies technical litigation experience and employee benefits knowledge to clients’ needs. For over 25 years, Ogletree Deakins attorneys have been representing employers, insurers, and employee benefits plans in litigation involving the denial of life, health, disability, and retirement benefits; breaches of fiduciary duty; bad faith; claims of misrepresentation; and subrogation and reimbursement.

Breadth of Experience

Ogletree Deakins’ ERISA Litigation Practice Group is composed of seasoned litigators who have extensive experience defending complicated employee benefits litigation matters including class action and single-plaintiff lawsuits regarding life, health, disability, pension, and retiree benefits, as well as continuation coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA). Our litigators also have vast experience in state and federal courts, in trial and appellate courts throughout the United States, and before the Supreme Court of the United States. Our attorneys are able to communicate directly and effectively with in-house counsel, claims administrators, human resources personnel, and other professionals to quickly recognize and marshal the facts and the law essential to a benefits litigation defense.

We regularly provide consultation to other law firms, including advice, litigation assistance, drafting briefs and legal memoranda, and other services. We emphasize efficiency, and always strive to manage costs while achieving the best results. Our practice is backed by over 30 ERISA compliance attorneys in offices throughout the United States. Ogletree Deakins ERISA litigation attorneys have years of cumulative ERISA litigation experience in insured and non-insured matters in cases pending in courts throughout the United States.

In addition, our attorneys have authored books and numerous articles and are frequent speakers at national seminars on employee benefits litigation topics. One of our ERISA Litigation Practice Group attorneys has been appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Labor to serve on the ERISA Advisory Council (a group of 15 benefits professionals representing various constituencies who advise the U.S. Department of Labor on matters related to the regulation of employee benefits programs). A member of our ERISA Litigation Practice Group has also been inducted as a fellow in the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel.

Coast-to-Coast Coverage

Our Employee Benefits Litigation practice is national in scope. Because our ERISA Litigation Practice Group members practice in offices around the country, we can promptly marshal the resources needed to handle any matter, whether it be in nationwide or company-wide actions or local cases. Our attorneys have represented clients in ERISA and non-ERISA life, health, and disability matters in virtually every state in the United States, in all of the federal courts of appeals, in the state court system, and before the Supreme Court of the United States. In short, our coverage is vast.

Ogletree Deakins also has an integrated, completely matter-centric document management system which provides unlimited sharing of documents, email messages, and knowledge. By placing all our data in a central location, we maintain our “one-firm” structure and allow our attorneys to collaborate effectively without regard to geographic boundaries.

Our Services

Our attorneys bring their litigation experience and vast knowledge of employee benefits issues to the employers we represent. The following are just a few of the professional experiences and accomplishments upon which our ERISA Litigation Practice Group attorneys will draw to offer first-rate counsel to our clients:

  • Our attorneys have served as lead or consulting counsel in dozens of cases that have forged ERISA law, including representation of amici before the Supreme Court of the United States in a number of high-profile cases.
  • Our attorneys frequently advise insurers on matters related to plan and policy drafting, claim procedures, and other legal and regulatory issues.
  • Our attorneys routinely provide advice regarding the drafting of policy and claim administration documents.
  • Our attorneys have acted as consultants on behalf of insurance clients, working with other panel counsel on complicated ERISA issues.
  • Our attorneys have frequently provided claim procedure training services that are tailored to their clients’ needs.
  • Our attorneys have represented clients in appellate matters spanning a wide range of legal issues.

The depth of our employee benefits litigation practice allows us to provide a unique benefit to our clients: Our practice group members have amassed a database of ERISA litigation decisions extending as far back as 2000, which provides ready references to the case law relevant to each legal situation. The database contains not only these decisions but also thousands of case summaries in which our attorneys have analyzed a vast number of issues that are significant to employee benefits litigation. The ERISA case law database that we maintain, in addition to regular notifications from our attorneys highlighting new cases as they are added to the database is available to our clients at no cost, as an added value.


Communication is a vital part of serving the legal needs of our clients. We regularly update clients on the status of their matters and are available for consultation at every step of the decision-making process. This participative practice style promotes information-driven decision-making and helps to build strong and lasting relationships based on timeliness, responsiveness, quality, and value.


Our firm has been a leader in offering value-based billing for clients. We work closely with our clients to develop fee arrangements that are tailored to their needs and interests. We are happy to discuss the nature of any and all alternative fee agreements that are of interest to our clients.

ERISA Litigation Practice Group Leader

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