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Court Penalizes Employer $41,140 for Failure to Timely Provide Plan Documents

In Kinsinger, a federal district court in North Carolina significantly penalized a plan administrator that failed to timely respond to employees?ÇÖ request for plan documents related to an employer-sponsored group health plan subject to ERISA. The documents were not provided until 748 days after the ERISA required 30-day period to provide documents had expired, and then only in response to a lawsuit claiming an ERISA fiduciary breach for misappropriating employee contributions. The federal district court assessed a penalty of $55 per day (half of the statutory maximum of $110 dollars per day) for the failure to provide the required documents?Çöa penalty determined by the court to reflect ?Ç£both the egregiousness of the [plan administrator?ÇÖs] misconduct as well as the extraordinary length of delay.?Ç¥ This opinion serves as a cautionary warning to ERISA plan administrators to not ignore document requests; however, not all documents requested by plaintiff’s attorneys are required to be disclosed under ERISA, so contact ERISA counsel if in doubt. Kinsinger v. Smartcore, LLC, 2019 BL 320096, (W.D.N.C Aug. 26, 2019).

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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October 2019