AARP Foundation Litigation:
Employee Benefits and Investor Protection Team
- Mary Ellen Signorille, Senior Attorney
- Jay E. Sushelsky, Senior Attorney
The AARP Foundation Litigation (AFL) Employee Benefits Team works on issues pertaining to benefits generally provided through the employment relationship. These benefits include retirement plans, such as pensions, 401(k) plans, cash balance plans, and employer stock purchase and award programs, group insurance, including health insurance, life insurance and disability insurance.
With respect to the work the team does on retirement plan matters, in the defined benefit plan area the focus is on vesting and vested benefits, and the protection of accrued benefits. Issues often arise regarding covered services, and whether a break in service limits or interferes with vesting of benefits. As to 401(k) plans, the fees associated with plan investments are a very important subject. The formula used to calculate cash balance plan accounts are also of great significance. The team also works on cases that involve unfair benefit eligibility determinations by group insurance plans.
The AFL Investor Protection Team works on issues pertaining to financial investment products such as mutual funds, stocks, bonds, annuities and variations of these financial instruments that are repackaged for purchase on the public securities markets and privately through brokers, financial advisers and insurance agents. Historically, there are various forms of deceptive practices associated with the sale of such products.
The team’s work involves products that are bought both inside and outside of retirement plans, and securities that trade on the public securities markets. Many of the cases arise out of misrepresentations that are part of a financial fraud scheme of one sort or another. Whether the matter concerns an unlawful effort to manipulate the market price of a publicly traded security or an attempt to market a predatory financial product, the team seeks cases that are likely to affect large groups of investors.
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