Schlichter, Bogard & Denton Settles Excessive Fee Lawsuit for Employees in International Paper’s 401(k) Plans for $30 Million

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Schlichter, Board & Denton, a St. Louis law firm, which has been at the forefront of 401(k) fee litigation on behalf of workers, today reached a tentative settlement with International Paper Company 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.

We are pleased to see that these cases have produced very meaningful reductions in expenses for workers and retirees in 401(k) Plans throughout the industry.

Schlichter, Board & Denton, a St. Louis law firm, which has been at the forefront of 401(k) fee litigation on behalf of workers, today reached a tentative settlement with International Paper Company 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.

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 International Paper employees and retirees will not only receive compensation to help build their retirement assets, but will also now have a strong 401(k) Plan which helps them increase their hard earned retirement assets going forward.”

The International Paper defendants disputed the allegations in the case, contending that the Plans had been appropriately managed.

Mr. Schlichter and the Schlichter, Bogard & Denton were the first to bring claims on behalf of employees and retirees for excessive fees in 401(k) Plans in the Fall of 2006. In addition to the settlement with International Paper, Mr. Schlichter 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.). He 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.).

According to NEPC, an independent investment advisory company, these high-profile cases have contributed to a 22% reduction in recordkeeping fees paid by the typical American worker since 2006.

A 2011 survey by the AARP found that 71% of workers do not believe they are paying any fees in their Plans. Mr. Schlichter added: “We are pleased to see that these cases have produced very meaningful reductions in expenses for workers and retirees in 401(k) Plans throughout the industry. Our experience is that more and more people are concerned about having enough retirement assets as the risk of inadequate retirement assets has shifted to employees under the 401(k) model.”

The settlement must be approved by an independent fiduciary and Chief Judge David R. Herndon before it becomes final.

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 toll-free at (800) 873-5297 for a free review of your plan.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements. The cases discussed do not predict outcomes in future cases. Past results afford no guarantee of future results and every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

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Jerome J. Schlichter
Schlichter Bogard & Denton, LLP
+1 (314) 621-6115
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