Schlichter, Bogard & Denton 401(k) Excessive Fee Claim Against International Paper Granted Preliminary Approval
On October 10, 2013, St. Louis law firm Schlichter, Board & Denton obtained preliminary approval of a $30 million settlement with International Paper Company regarding its 401(k) fee class action in Pat Beesley, et al., v. International Paper Company, et al., Case No. 06-703, in the U.S. Federal Court for the Southern District of Illinois.
The case, which has been pending since September of 2006, involves allegations that the fiduciaries responsible for overseeing International Paper’s hourly and salaried workers’ 401(k) Plans breached their duties resulting in excessive fees, treating the 401(k) Plans differently from the company’s pension plan, and by imprudently selecting funds in the plans.
The parties announced the settlement earlier this month.
In addition to the payment of $30 Million, the settlement also provides that International Paper will undergo 4 years of monitoring of its 401(k) Plans, will put out for bids its recordkeeping, and take other steps to improve the 401(k) Plans for employees and retirees.
Jerome Schlichter of Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, attorney for the employees and retirees in the 401(k) Plans, stated: “The Court’s decision to preliminarily approve the settlement is the first step in benefitting the International Paper employees and retirees both with the money they will receive and the top notch 401(k) plan they will have going forward.”
Mr. Schlichter and the Schlichter, Bogard & Denton firm have been at the forefront of the 401(k) litigation that has contributed to lower fees and improved fee disclosure for workers and retirees across the country. In addition to the settlement with International Paper, the firm recently settled a case on behalf of Cigna employees and retirees for $35 million, which is the largest settlement in an excessive fee case in history. Nolte v. Cigna, Case No. 07-2046 (C.D.Ill.). The firm has also achieved settlements on behalf of employees and retirees of Caterpillar, General Dynamics, Bechtel, and Kraft Foods. Martin v. Caterpillar, Case No. 07-1009 (C.D.Ill.); Will v. General Dynamics, Case No. 06-698 (S.D.Ill.); Kanawi v. Bechtel, Case No. 06-5566 (N.D.Ca.); George v. Kraft Foods, Case Nos. 07-1713 & 08-3799 (N.D.Ill.). In addition, Mr. Schlichter and his firm obtained a judgment against ABB and Fidelity of over $50 Million in the only full trial of an excessive fee 401(k) Plan lawsuit in U.S. history. Tussey v. ABB, Case No. 06-4305 (W.D.Mo.).
The settlement must be approved by an independent fiduciary before being finally approved by Chief Judge David R. Herndon.
About Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, LLP
Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, LLP is a unique national law firm that represents individuals, including 401(k) plan investors, whose plans suffer from excessive fees or imprudent investment options. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping employees and retirees secure the retirement benefits they deserve. If you have any questions about the fees and investments in your 401(k) or 403(b) plan, please contact Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, LLP at (314) 621-6115 for a free review of your plan.
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