Pension Rights and Employee Benefits

The Law Offices of Michael M. Mulder has concentrated in recent years on opposing the corporate trend toward reducing or eliminating employee benefits. We have become a leader in the field of ERISA litigation by bringing class and multiplaintiff cases on behalf of employees whose companies have sought to illegally cut benefits costs.

Helping Clients From Our Chicago, Illinois, Area Law Firm

In Millsap v. McDonnell Douglas, 162 F.Supp.2d 1262 (N.D. Okla. 2001) (entering judgment for plaintiffs), a class of 1,100 former management and union employees sued McDonnell Douglas for ERISA violations when it closed its Tulsa, Oklahoma, plant. Our firm prevailed at trial and recovered $36 million in lost pension and medical benefits for the class. The court stated that "at trial, class counsel demonstrated a high degree of skill" and noted that "Mr. Mulder and his firm have extensive experience in representing plaintiffs in class-action litigation, and have achieved excellent results in other class-action lawsuits. In fact, in the final analysis, the court is persuaded that without the hard work, dedication and superior legal skills demonstrated by class counsel over the course of this case, there may well have been no recovery for the plaintiffs whatsoever." Millsap v. McDonnell Douglas, 2003 WL 21277124, *11-12, No. 94-CV-633-H(M) (N.D. Okla). May 28, 2003 (approving settlement).

In In re Sears Retiree Group Life Insurance Litigation, 2002 WL 475180, No. 94-cv-7453 (March 27, 2002, N.D. Ill.), the firm achieved a massive class settlement with Sears over its decision to eliminate its retirees' life insurance coverage. The settlement provided $29 million to restore benefits and preserved an additional $200 million in benefits for the class, which numbered over 80,000 Sears retirees, including many members of Sears' former executive team. The district court noted at the conclusion of the case that it was "settled after over four years of very active litigation by highly competent attorneys, resulting in a complex arrangement reached after lengthy negotiations."

We served as co-lead counsel in Neil v. Zell , No. 1:08-cv-06833 (N.D. Ill.) on behalf of a class of 13,000 employee participants in the Tribune Employee Stock Ownership Plan. In March 2012, the United States District Court in Chicago approved a $32 million settlement that resolved the allegations that the defendants breached their fiduciary duties of prudence and loyalty to the class and engaged in certain prohibited transactions. The case and the court's rulings are described in more detail in the BNA's Pension & Benefits Daily article, "Court Gives Early OK to $32M Settlement Ending Lawsuit Over Tribune ESOP Buyout."

Contact An Experienced Legal Team

The firm welcomes opportunities to build co-counsel relationships with other lawyers who seek a partner in ERISA cases. Please contact us to discuss potential employee benefits class actions. We also welcome inquiries from employees who believe they have been denied employee benefits to which they are entitled.