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401k Plan Fee Lawsuit Details Becoming Available

September 2006

    
The St. Louis law firm Schlichter, Bogard & Denton made news last week when it filed a wave of class action complaints involving 401k plan fees. See A 401k Fees Litigation Wave Has Hit!.

401khelpcenter.com has obtained a copy of the 45 page complaint filed against Northrop Grumman Corporation, The Northrop Grumman Corporation Savings Plan Administrative Committee and Investment Committee, numerous corporate offers and their Board of Directors.

The complaint alleges that the Defendants:

  • Charged fees and expenses to the Plans that were, or are, unreasonable and/or not incurred solely for the benefit of participants and beneficiaries of the Plans;
  • Caused the Plans to enter into agreements with third parties which caused and/or allowed the Plans to pay fees and expenses that were, or are, unreasonable and/or not incurred solely for the benefit of participants and beneficiaries of the Plans;
  • Failed to monitor the fees and expenses paid by the Plans and, by such failure, caused or allowed the Plans to pay fees and expenses that were, or are, unreasonable and/or not incurred solely for the benefit of participants and beneficiaries of the Plans;
  • Failed to inform themselves of, and understand, the various methods by which vendors in the 401k retirement industry collect payments and other revenues from 401k plans;
  • Failed to establish, implement, and follow procedures to properly and prudently determine whether the fees and expenses paid by the Plans were reasonable and incurred solely for the benefit of the participants and beneficiaries of the Plans;
  • Failed properly to inform and/or disclose to participants and beneficiaries of the Plans the fees and expenses that at or have been, paid by the Plans;
  • Failed to inform and/or disclose to participants and beneficiaries of the Plans in proper detail and clarity the transaction fees and expenses which affect participants' accounts balances in connection with the purchase or sale of interests in investment alternatives;
  • Breached their fiduciary duties by failing to disclose that hidden and excessive fees were and are being assessed against assets of the Plans and by failing to stop such hidden excessive fees;
  • Appointed as fiduciaries persons who did not fulfill their fiduciary duties, failed to monitor and/or oversee the performance of those fiduciaries and to ensure that they were fulfilling those duties, and failed to terminate the fiduciaries I appointment after breaches occurred;
  • In charging, causing to be charged or paid, and failing to monitor the fees and expenses of the Plans, failed to exercise the care, skill, prudence, and diligence that a prudent person would when acting in like capacity and familiar with such matters;
  • Caused and/or allowed fees and expenses to be paid by the Plans for purposes other than those allowed by ERISA;
  • By the conduct above and/or by other conduct set forth in this Complaint, revealed in discovery and/or proven at trial, breached their fiduciary and other ERISA-imposed obligations to the Plans, participants and beneficiaries of the Plans, and members of the classes;
  • Are liable to the Plans and the Classes for losses suffered as a result of the breaches of their fiduciary duties and other ERISA-imposed obligations; and
  • Are responsible to account for the assets and transactions of the Plans and should be charged for any transactions and payments for which they cannot account.

It is our understanding that similar suits have been file against at least five other major Fortune 1000 companies, including Exelon, Lockheed Martin, International Paper Company and United Technologies, with over a dozen more soon to follow.

Rick Meigs, President, 401khelpcenter.com


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