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Deferred Compensation Arrangements in Employment Agreements Not an ERISA Plan

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a district court decision finding that deferred compensation arrangements in employment agreements constituted an ERISA Plan.?á Although there was a cap on certain payments, the court held that such provision did not involve enough employer discretion to constitute an administrative scheme, thus ERISA did not apply.?á The court also noted that the cap would likely never be triggered, no administrative scheme was needed to monitor the company?ÇÖs former employees to ensure compliance with non-compete provisions, and even though the triggering events, including termination without cause and retirement, would occur more than once and at a different time for each employee, they could easily be ascertained without employer discretion.

Cantrell v. Briggs & Veselka Co., No. 12-20294 (5th Cir. Aug. 27, 2013).

The lawyers of our Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group are readily able to assist companies on a nationwide basis with implementing sophisticated benefit plans and providing answers to their most challenging compensation issues. Additionally, our lawyers are well aware of the daily employee benefits challenges facing companies of all sizes and are capable of helping in-house lawyers and human resources personnel with the day-to-day advice and guidance necessary to properly administer employee benefits plans.

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