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03.14.2024 Benefits Companion Podcast

What the J&J Case Means for Plan Administrators

On this episode of Williams Mullen's Benefits Companion, host Brydon DeWitt discusses a recent ERISA class action case, Lewandowski v. Johnson & Johnson et al., that is a wake-up call for plan fiduciaries managing health and welfare benefit plans. He will discuss the case allegations and possible best practices that plan fiduciaries should consider as we enter a new era of increased litigation.


Key Takeaways:

  • On February 5, 2024, a proposed class action lawsuit was filed against Johnson and Johnson, Inc. and the company’s Pension and Benefits Committee alleging a breach of fiduciary duties with respect to the selection of its pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) under its group health plan.
  • While ERISA lawsuits for breach of fiduciary duty are most likely to focus on retirement plans, this suit is novel because a health and welfare benefit plan is under scrutiny.
  • Plan fiduciaries should take notice as this case may prompt similar lawsuits.
  • To mitigate risk, ERISA plan fiduciaries should apply the same precautions to their health and welfare plans as they do for their retirement plans.
  • This may include a new committee formation, quarterly meetings with minutes, regular RFPs and additional guidance to ensure vendor pricing and compensation is fully understood.