Another Victory for Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, LLP—Federal District Court Grants Class Action Status to Boeing 401(k) Plan Participants

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Nationally recognized attorneys at Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, LLP have successfully obtained class certification for participants in the Boeing Company 401(k) Plan, one of the largest in the United States, regarding claims that the Plan had excessive fees and imprudent investments. The decision in Spano v. Boeing Co., Case No. 06-743 (S.D.Ill.) follows the Seventh Circuit’s recent ruling that a similar claim on behalf of participants in another large 401(k) plan was suitable for class action treatment, Abbott v. Lockheed Martin Corp., No. 12-3736 (7th Cir. Aug. 7, 2013)

The ruling is a victory for 401(k) investors concerned about having a meaningful retirement plan.

On September 19, 2013, Chief Judge David R. Herndon of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois granted class certification to participants in the Boeing 401(k) Plan, regarding claims that Boeing personnel responsible for managing the plan breached their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”), by: (1) causing the Plan to pay unreasonable and excessive administrative fees to its recordkeeper, CitiStreet; (2) squandering the Plan’s massive bargaining power by including certain retail mutual funds in the Plan which charged excessive fees and paid revenue sharing “kickbacks” to CitiStreet, instead of superior, low-cost institutional investments that were available to the Plan; (3) including an undiversified and imprudent Technology Fund in the Plan; (4) selecting an imprudent Small Cap Fund, which Boeing included in the Plan in order to further its corporate relationship with the fund manager, State Street, by allowing it to collect grossly excessive fees from the fund; and (5) imprudently holding high levels of low-yielding cash and allowing State Street to collect multiple layers of fees for “managing” the Boeing Company Stock Fund. Spano v. Boeing, Case No. 06-743 (S.D.Ill.).

According to the firm’s founding partner, who is handling the case, Jerome Schlichter,“the ruling is a victory for 401(k) investors concerned about having a meaningful retirement plan.” Mr. Schlichter also stated, “The case will now proceed for all the employees and retirees plan participants who allegedly suffered harm from Boeing’s behavior.”

The Boeing case was one of a number of cases filed by Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, which launched the field of 401(k) fiduciary breach litigation for excessive fees. After years of litigation, Schlichter, Bogard, & Denton recently won a $50 million judgment from ABB and Fidelity in a case on behalf of ABB employees and retirees in ABB’s 401(k) plan, after the first full trial of a 401(k) excessive fee claim in the country. Tussey v. ABB, Inc., Case No. 06-4305 (W.D. Mo.) The firm has also settled cases on behalf of participants in the 401(k) plans of Cigna, Caterpillar, General Dynamics, Kraft Foods, and Bechtel totaling over $90 million. Nolte v. Cigna Corp., Case No. 07-2046 (C.D.Ill.); Martin v. Caterpillar, Inc., Case No. 07-1009 (C.D.Ill.); Will v. General Dynamics Corp., Case No. 06-698 (S.D.Ill.); Kanawi v. Bechtel Corp., Case No. 06-5566 (N.D.Ca.); George v. Kraft Foods Global, Inc., Case Nos. 07-1713 & 08-3799 (N.D.Ill.). The recent $35 million Cigna 401(k) plan settlement is the largest ever for 401(k) plan investors.

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. Its attorneys are dedicated to helping employees and retirees secure the retirement benefits they deserve. Anyone who has questions about the fees and investments in a 401(k) or 403(b) plan can contact Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, LLP toll-free at (800) 873-5297.

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Jerome J. Schlichter
Schlichter Bogard & Denton, LLP
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