Northrop Grumman Settles Multi-Million Dollar 401k Fee Suit

The case was originally filed in 2006

401k fees, lawsuit, Jerry SchlichterThe defense contractor giant settles after a decade.

The man’s a machine. With the sting of defeat still fresh from a federal judge’s dismissal of his Chevron suit, tort lawyer Jerry Schlichter bounced back with the announcement of a $16.75 million 401k fee settlement with Northrop Grumman.

It’s the resolution of one of two cases Schlichter has filed against the defense contractor.

In the matter of In re Northrop Grumman Corp. ERISA Litig., the plaintiffs alleged, amongst other claims, that Northrop fiduciaries violated their duties to employees in two 401k retirement plans, by improperly causing those plans to pay Northrop for administrative services.

“After 10 years of litigation, we are pleased that the employees and retirees of Northrop Grumman will now benefit from this settlement,” Schlichter, managing partner with St. Louis-based Schlichter, Bogard and Denton, said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing our work on behalf of these employees and retirees, as we seek to obtain further compensation for losses sustained from 2010 to the time of the next trial.”

A motion for approval of the settlement was filed today by the parties in the Court of Judge Andre Birotte Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The case was originally filed in 2006. The trial began in Los Angeles on March 14, 2017, and the settlement was reached after three days of trial. The settlement extends to conduct occurring between September 28, 2000 and May 11, 2009.

The settlement does not cover claims raised in Marshall v. Northrop Grumman Corp., a second case against Northrop filed by Schlichter, Bogard and Denton on September 9, 2016.

The litigation has similar allegations on behalf of Northrop employees and retirees, for conduct occurring from 2010 to the present, a period of time not covered by today’s settled case. Marshall v. Northrop remains pending in the same court.

Schlichter, Bogard and Denton pioneered excessive fee 401k litigation on behalf of employees and retirees. Since 2006, the firm has filed over 20 such complaints and secured 13 settlements on behalf of employees. In 2009, the firm won the only full trial of a 401k excessive fee case against ABB.

In 2015, the firm achieved a unanimous victory on behalf of employees, in the only 401k excessive fee case taken by the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2016, the firm brought excessive fee suits against 12 major universities with defined contribution retirement plans.

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