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ArtMarrapese

Partner

"I help employee benefit plan sponsors and fiduciaries identify, prioritize, and address risks through case-informed plan drafting, employee-communication strategies, and best practice policies and procedures."

Overview

Biography

A former ERISA compliance and recordkeeping firm owner with in-house financial-services industry experience and over 30 years of legal experience, Art primarily concentrates his practice on helping plan sponsors and fiduciaries identify, prioritize, and minimize the litigation and liability risks associated with the management and administration of employee benefit programs through plan drafting, employee-communications strategies, plan-governance ideas, and “best practice” policies and procedures.

Art has extensive experience drafting employee benefit plan documents and summary plan descriptions, assisting senior executives and board members in understanding their fiduciary responsibilities and counseling on steps to minimize those responsibilities and the attendant litigation and liability risks.

He regularly advises plan sponsors, insurers, and health-plan service providers on issues relating to ERISA, COBRA, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and HIPAA privacy and security. He routinely negotiates administrative-service agreements, business-associate agreements, and nondisclosure and data-transmission agreements related to the operation and administration of self-funded medical plans. Art also advises health insurance companies and brokers on designing, documenting, and administering insurance products and services in a manner that comports with applicable law, most notably the ACA.

In ERISA claims and dispute resolution, Art helps claims administrators and administrative committees maintain compliant-claims procedures, communicate the procedures to participants, and adhere to the timeline, notice, and substantive requirements of the procedure and federal law to help preserve administrative discretion. When litigation is unavoidable, Art aggressively represents plan sponsors, service providers, employee benefit plans, and plan fiduciaries in the defense of ERISA benefits and fiduciary-breach claims. He has argued ERISA cases in federal courts across New York State, including the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and also represents plan sponsors and fiduciaries in connection with US Department of Labor investigations and enforcement matters.

Experience

Representative Experience

  • Led a team that helped a large public company organize and restructure complex benefit programs into a single, comprehensive ERISA welfare-benefits plan, and drafted a consolidated ERISA plan document and summary plan description.
  • Helped a large public company establish employee benefit plan policies and procedures to ensure compliance with FMLA, COBRA, HIPAA Privacy and Security, GINA, the Wellstone-Domenici Mental Health Parity Act, the Affordable Care Act, and various other laws that impact the implementation and administration of wellness, disease management, and smoker-cessation initiatives.
  • Developed 18 risk-management strategies for consideration by employers and other sponsors of self-funded medical plans. Informed by case law, these strategies were designed to reduce litigation and liability risks, and include “best practice” recommendations relating to plan document provisions, policies and procedures, and plan governance.
  • Assisted in the successful defense of a national employee-benefit-plan service provider in a fiduciary breach lawsuit that reached the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
  • Obtained the dismissal of a benefit and fiduciary-breach claim arising from a decline in the participant’s account value following a sudden and precipitous decline in the market value of plan investments.
  • Secured a favorable ruling on behalf of a claimant in one of the earliest ERISA fiduciary-breach suits following the US Supreme Court’s decision in Varity Corp. v. Howe.
  • Helped a plan sponsor and fiduciary avoid civil enforcement action arising from an alleged multi-year prohibited transaction. The matter was resolved through voluntary compliance and without penalty.
  • Led a multidisciplinary team to help a large medical practice restructure its 401(k) recordkeeping and investment-management program using a carefully designed and implemented RFP process that included the negotiation of service agreements, fiduciary protections for the benefit of the practice. Minimized that fees would meet the reasonableness standard.

Prior Experience

  • Damon Morey LLP, Partner
  • Hodgson Russ LLP, Partner

Selected Honors

  • The Best Lawyers in America®: Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law and Litigation, 2006-2020
  • Selected to Super Lawyers Upstate New York: Employee Benefits, 2008-2019
  • Buffalo Business First, Legal Elite of Western New York, 2018
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Buffalo Lawyer of the Year: Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2014
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated for Very High to Preeminent Ethical Standards and Legal Ability
Knowledge

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • New York State Bar Association, “Employer Liability in Managed Health Care, Estate Planning for Qualified Plan Benefits, and Employee Benefit Plan Implications Associated With Worker Misclassification,” Panelist
  • Strafford, “Tax and ERISA Rules Governing Employee Benefit Plan Overpayments,” Panelist
  • “ERISA Benefit Engagements, Attorney Client Privilege, and Work Product Doctrine” CLE
  • Barclay Damon, “Managing and Insuring ERISA Litigation and Liability Risks” Webinar
  • Barclay Damon, “Managing ERISA 403(b) Plan Litigation Risks in Higher Education” Webinar

Selected Publications & Media

Featured Media

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Alerts

Court of Appeals Green Lights Associational Discrimination Lawsuit Under the ADA

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Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Contractual Limitation Period for Title VII Claims

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