William Woolston

William Woolston

Partner

Will Woolston is a partner in the firm’s Washington office who advises employers large and small on all aspects of employee benefits and executive compensation.  Mr. Woolston’s practice focuses significantly on tax-qualified retirement plans, with a particular emphasis on “hybrid” defined benefit plans like cash balance and pension equity plans.  Mr. Woolston regularly represents clients on matters before the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of the Treasury, and has assisted many companies in resolving with the IRS operational and administrative errors in qualified plans.  In addition to his qualified plan work, Mr. Woolston also advises clients on the full spectrum of executive compensation matters, including equity compensation arrangements, employment agreements, and compliance with the deferred compensation requirements of Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code.

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Will Cybersecurity Best Practices Morph into Cyber Mandates?

The federal government has been encouraging employers to adopt best practices to address both external and internal threats to critical business information and infrastructure. These best practices have included an important human resources element, including policies and programs covering current and former employees. For example, the Obama Administration opened its initiative to combat trade secret … Continue Reading

Oral Misrepresentation Could Support Fiduciary Breach Claim, District Court Holds

In Lees v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., a federal district court in New Jersey recently held that an oral misrepresentation could serve as the basis for a fiduciary breach claim. The plaintiff in Lees worked for American Re-Insurance Company (a predecessor of the defendant), but was being paid by a related entity. Several years into … Continue Reading

New Law Reduces PBGC Exposure for Employers That Cease Operations at a Facility

The Consolidated and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (or “Cromnibus”) revamped the notification and funding requirements under § 4062(e) of ERISA.  As interpreted by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”), § 4062(e) often required an employer to make substantial contributions or provide other financial commitments to a defined benefit plan when the employer ceased operations at … Continue Reading

Fiduciaries May Be Responsible for Call Center Statements to Fill in Gaps in SPD

A recent Seventh Circuit case, Killian v. Concert Health Plan (Nov. 7, 2013), highlights two important principles for any plan sponsor or fiduciary: If a plan document or summary plan description leaves out information and says to call a phone number for details, plan fiduciaries can be responsible for call center representatives’ oral statements and … Continue Reading

Supreme Court’s McCutchen Decision Highlights Plan Drafting Opportunity

In its recent decision in U.S. Airways v. McCutchen, all nine justices of the Supreme Court agreed that equitable principles do not override the clear terms of an ERISA plan.  Although a majority of the Court went on to find that the plan at issue was ambiguous, the decision makes clear that plan documents—when clear—may … Continue Reading

Participants Lack Standing to Challenge Defined Benefit Plan Investment Decisions

The Fourth Circuit recently held that participants in a defined benefit plan lacked standing under Article III of the United States Constitution to challenge investment decisions made by the plan’s fiduciaries.  David v. Alphin, No. 11-2181 (4th Cir. Jan. 14, 2013).  The plan at issue was overfunded and the participants had not failed to receive … Continue Reading

Fiscal Cliff Legislation Extends Tax Advantages for Popular Fringe Benefits, Expands In-Plan Roth 401(k) Conversions

The United States government narrowly avoided falling over the so-called “fiscal cliff” by enacting the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (“ATRA”).  ATRA’s impact on tax rates has been covered extensively in the national media.  ATRA also included several employee benefit provisions that are of interest to employers and their employees. … Continue Reading

Puerto Rico Treasury Extends Deadlines for Adopting Required Amendments and Submitting Applications for Determination Letters

In a welcome development for employers working to maintain tax-qualified retirement plans for their employees in Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Department of Treasury (the “Hacienda”) last week issued Circular Letter No. 12-09, extending two important deadlines: The deadline for amending plans to comply with the Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code of 2011 (“2011 PRIRC”) … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Address Plan’s Ability to Recover the Cost of Medical Benefits for Injuries Caused by a Third Party

On Tuesday, November 27th, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in U.S. Airways v. McCutchen.  The case will address a medical plan’s ability to recover the cost of medical benefits for injuries caused by a third party.  McCutchen is important to employers, because a ruling against U.S. Airways might significantly increase the cost of providing … Continue Reading
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