There has been much media coverage of the recent class action lawsuits filed against some of the most prestigious universities in the United States by university employees. These class action lawsuits allege that the universities breached their fiduciary obligations in running their defined contribution 403(b) retirement plans by allowing the plans to pay excessive investment, record-keeping and administrative fees, thereby resulting in reduced retirement savings for their employees. The roster of current defendants includes Yale, MIT, Vanderbilt, Duke, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Pennsylvania, among others, and more class actions of this type against other universities are expected.  These suits are similar to the fiduciary-duty breach hidden fee litigation that has bedeviled corporate 401(k) plan sponsors for years.  The suits also claim that some university retirement plans offer too many investment options (Duke University allegedly offered more than 400; John Hopkins, 440; and Vanderbilt, 340), have multiple recordkeepers (John Hopkins allegedly has five recordkeepers; Duke and Vanderbilt, four) and the universities failed to put record-keeping and other services for their retirement plans out for competitive bidding on a periodic basis.

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Photo of Francis J. Serbaroli Francis J. Serbaroli

Francis J. Serbaroli is a shareholder in the Health Care & FDA Practice of Greenberg Traurig’s New York office. Frank has three decades of experience in the health care industry. His clients include health insurers and managed care plans; hospitals, nursing homes, clinics,

Francis J. Serbaroli is a shareholder in the Health Care & FDA Practice of Greenberg Traurig’s New York office. Frank has three decades of experience in the health care industry. His clients include health insurers and managed care plans; hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, ambulatory surgery centers and home health agencies, clinical laboratories, renal dialysis providers, faculty practice plans, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device and equipment manufacturers. He handles a wide range of corporate, regulatory, compliance, reimbursement, corporate governance, bankruptcy, antitrust and litigation matters. He also advises clients in connection with the prohibitions on the corporate practice of medicine and fee-splitting, as well as Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse matters.

Frank served as a member of the New York State Public Health Council from 1995 to 2010, spending most of that time as the council’s vice chairman, and served several periods as Acting Chairman. His government experience also includes three years as an Assistant Attorney General of the State of New York. He writes a regular Health Law column for the New York Law Journal and teaches and lectures on Health Care, corporate governance and not-for-profit issues.

Photo of Terry L. Moore˘ Terry L. Moore˘

As director of employee benefits services in the executive compensation and employee benefits department, Terry L. Moore provides consulting services on a wide range of employee benefit issues. She has wide-ranging experience with qualified and nonqualified deferred compensation plans, multiple employer plans, Employee

As director of employee benefits services in the executive compensation and employee benefits department, Terry L. Moore provides consulting services on a wide range of employee benefit issues. She has wide-ranging experience with qualified and nonqualified deferred compensation plans, multiple employer plans, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and 403(b) plans, including the operational review of such plans in order to comply with requirements for correction under the Internal Revenue Service’s Employee Plans Compliance Resolution Program and DOL Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program.

Terry was a tax law specialist in the Employee Plans Technical and Actuarial Division in the national office of the IRS with responsibility for issuing opinion letters on master and prototype plans compliance of legal regulations and for regulatory and technical questions regarding the application of law in the form of issuing private letter rulings and general information letters. She instructed and trained other tax law specialists and revenue agents in employee plan matters, including the auditing of qualified plans. She was also a manager in the IRS District Office, Income Tax Examination Division where she held the position of classroom and on-the-job instructor.

Photo of Jeffrey D. Mamorsky Jeffrey D. Mamorsky

Jeffrey D. Mamorsky is Co-Chair of the Global Benefits & Compensation Practice and Co-Chair of the Labor & Employment Practice’s ERISA & Employee Benefits Litigation group. He concentrates his practice in the areas of compensation and employee benefits law. He serves as employee…

Jeffrey D. Mamorsky is Co-Chair of the Global Benefits & Compensation Practice and Co-Chair of the Labor & Employment Practice’s ERISA & Employee Benefits Litigation group. He concentrates his practice in the areas of compensation and employee benefits law. He serves as employee benefits counsel to large multinational corporations, financial institutions, insurance companies, closely held businesses, large not-for-profit organizations, governmental agencies, Big Four accounting firms, leading employee benefits consulting firms, large multiple employer plans and major multi-employer pension and welfare funds.