California Law Firm Probes Possible Fiduciary Breach

A Los Angeles-based law firm has launched an ERISA-based fiduciary investigation of Northern Trust.  

Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor LLP (“Liner”) says it has commenced an investigation relating to The Northern Trust Company Thrift-Incentive Plan, and potential violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 concerning investments in the stock of Northern Trust Company, and proprietary funds selected by that plan’s fiduciaries to be included in the plan.

Investigation Focus

According to a press release, Liner’s investigation focuses on concerns that the plan’s fiduciaries may have breached their fiduciary duties of loyalty and prudence to the Plan’s participants.  They claim that a breach may have occurred if the fiduciaries “failed to prudently manage the plan’s assets, by among other things, offering Northern Trust stock and/or proprietary funds as plan investment options, requiring participants to invest in the company stock, and investing and holding company contributions in the company stock at a time when the stock was not a suitable and appropriate investment option”.

The law firm says that a breach also may have occurred if the fiduciaries withheld or concealed material information from the plan’s participants “with respect to the company’s business, financial results, and operations, thereby encouraging participants and beneficiaries to continue to make and maintain substantial investments of company stock in the plan”.

Liner notes that its attorneys “helped pioneer this field in the Rite-Aid and McKesson ERISA breach of fiduciary duty cases, among the first large-scale ERISA 401(k) cases filed”.

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