Areas of Practice
- University of Wisconsin Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1984, Note and Comment Editor, Wisconsin Law Review
- University of Wisconsin - Madison, M.A., History, 1983
- University of Wisconsin - Madison, B.A., 1979
- Hon. Barbara B. Crabb, Chief Judge, US District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, 1984-1985
Bar & Court Admissions
- District of Columbia
Washington DC 20036
TEL: +1 202 429 6470
FAX: +1 202 429 3902
Eric G. Serron is a partner in Steptoe's Washington office with more than 25 years of experience in the employee benefits area. He focuses particularly on ERISA litigation and fiduciary responsibility issues.
Mr. Serron regularly provides advice and counsel to clients regarding their obligations under Title I of ERISA, including compliance with ERISA's fiduciary responsibility provisions and prohibited transaction rules. He has extensive experience litigating cases involving alleged breaches of fiduciary duty in the management or administration of defined contribution plans (including 401(k) plans, profit sharing plans, and ESOPs), defined benefit plans, and welfare plans. He has also represented clients in cases raising questions of ERISA preemption of state law.
Prior to joining Steptoe, Mr. Serron served as a trial attorney in the Plan Benefits Security Division of the Office of the Solicitor, US Department of Labor. In that capacity, he was responsible for representing the Secretary of Labor in complex fiduciary breach cases under ERISA at both the trial and appellate levels.
Mr. Serron is currently an adjunct professor in the LLM program at Georgetown Law and speaks frequently on employee benefits matters.
- Soehnlen v. Fleet Owners Insurance Fund, 844 F.3d 576 (6th Cir. 2016) – Dismissal of putative class action asserting ERISA, LMRA and state law breach of contract law claims against multiemployer welfare plan and its trustees based on alleged violations of the Affordable Care Act. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal on constitutional standing, ERISA standing and preemption grounds, among others.
- Skin Pathology Assocs. v. Morgan Stanley & Co., 2014 US Dist. LEXIS 26154 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 24, 2014) – Dismissal of putative class action alleging that a non-fiduciary service provider violated ERISA by participating in a prohibited transaction with a 401(k) profit sharing plan.
- Pharmaceutical Care Management Association v. District of Columbia, 613 F.3d 179 (D.C. Cir. 2010) – Appellate victory on behalf of trade association, holding that ERISA preempted portions of a District of Columbia law seeking to impose fiduciary standards and disclosure obligations on pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) in performing administrative services for ERISA-covered plans.
- In Re Honda of America Mfg. Inc. ERISA Fees Litigation, 661 F. Supp. 2d 861 (S.D. Ohio 2009) – Dismissal of putative class action alleging that the defendant fiduciaries of the company's 401(k) plan breached ERISA fiduciary duties by choosing investment options that charged excessive fees.
- Glanton v. AdvancePCS, Inc., 465 F.3d 1123 (9th Cir. 2006) – Dismissal of a putative class action brought by participants against a leading PBM alleging ERISA breach of fiduciary duty claims, for lack of constitutional standing. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal, and the Supreme Court subsequently denied certiorari.
- AdvancePCS v. Bauer, 632 S.E.2d 95 (Ga. 2006) – Decision by Georgia Supreme Court ordering dismissal on ERISA preemption grounds of a putative nationwide class action alleging that a PBM unjustly enriched itself at the expense of health plan participants by "misclassifying" a generic drug as a brand name drug in assessing copayments due under the plans.
- Unaka Co., Inc. v. Newman, 2005 US Dist. LEXIS 43660 (E.D. Tenn. April 26, 2005) – Successful defense of claims against former members of a profit sharing plan's administrative committee who were alleged to have breached their fiduciary duties by failing to consummate a sale of the plan's employer stock to another shareholder in the midst of a contest for control over the company.
- Cal. Ironworkers Field Pension Trust v. Loomis Sayles & Co., 259 F.3d 1036 (9th Cir. 2001) – Successful defense of ERISA fiduciary breach claims against investment manager based on investment of plan assets in complex mortgage derivatives.
Representative Matters at the Department of Labor
- Moench v. Robertson, 62 F.3d 553 (3rd Cir. 1995) – Co-authored amicus curiae brief for the Secretary of Labor addressing the circumstances under which an ESOP fiduciary's duty to act prudently may require it to stop purchasing (or to dispose of) employer securities for the plan.
- Reich v. Smith Int'l, Inc. (C.D. Cal) – Represented the Secretary of Labor in an ERISA action alleging that the sponsor of a defined benefit pension plan breached its fiduciary duties in purchasing a low-priced plan termination annuity from Executive Life Ins. Co. in order to maximize the sponsor's reversion of excess assets.
- Reich v. Valley National Bank, 837 F. Supp. 1259 (S.D.N.Y. 1993) – Represented the Secretary of Labor in the successful prosecution of an ERISA action alleging that an ESOP trustee breached its fiduciary duties and engaged in prohibited transactions by causing the plan to pay too much for company stock in a multi-investor ESOP-financed leveraged buyout.
- Travelers Ins. Co. v. Cuomo, 14 F.3d 708 (2d Cir. 1993) – Co-authored amicus curiae brief for the Secretary of Labor addressing whether ERISA preempted certain provisions of a New York law imposing surcharges on hospital rates for certain categories of payers and not others, as well as parts of an Actuarial Letter issued by New York's Department of Insurance regulating stop-loss insurance contracts.
- Formulated the analytical framework used by EBSA (then PWBA) to determine whether rebates paid on experience-rated insurance contracts are plan assets, which can be seen today in Advisory Opinion 2005-08A (May 1, 2005) at 3, and in EBSA’s Guidance on Rebates for Group Health Plans Paid Pursuant to the Medical Loss Ratio Requirements of the Public Health Service Act, Tech. Rel. 2011-04 (Dec. 2, 2011) at 2-3.
- Chambers USA, Nationwide: ERISA Litigation, 2016
- The Best Lawyers in America, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2013-2017
- Washington, DC Super Lawyers, Employee Benefits, 2016-2017
- The Best Lawyers in America, ERISA Litigation, 2012-2017
- Legal 500 US, Labor & Employment: ERISA Litigation, 2009-2016
- Legal 500 US, Labor & Employment: Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, 2015
Select News & Events
- Washington, DC Super Lawyers Recognizes 65 Steptoe Attorneys
- "What Does the DOL Rule Mean for the Rest of the Business," SIFMA, March 20, 2017
- Law360 Covers Steptoe’s Win for BP in Long-Running ERISA Suit
- "Remedies: Appropriate Equitable Relief Under ERISA After Montanile," American Conference Institute, October 27, 2016
- Steptoe Receives 80 Individual Mentions in Best Lawyers 2017
- "Implementing the DOL Fiduciary Rule: Understanding the Best Interest Contract Exemption, Neutral Factors, and the Sale of Complex Products," SIFMA, June 16, 2016
- Steptoe Receives 26 Practice, 120 Individual Mentions in Legal 500 US 2016
- Steptoe Receives 20 Practice, 63 Individual Mentions in Chambers USA 2016
- Implementing DOL's Fiduciary Rule 2016, SIFMA, May 11, 2016
- Washington, DC Super Lawyers Recognizes 55 Steptoe Attorneys
- "Prohibitions on Individual Recovery, Anti-Cutback Lawsuits, Fiduciary Breach Claims, and More," American Conference Institute, March 2, 2016
- "Understanding the New DOL Fiduciary Proposal and its Implications for the Insurance Industry and its Customers," ACLI, July 16, 2015