Jerry Schlichter Quoted in St. Louis Business Journal Article on Boeing 401(k) Lawsuit

By Diana Barr

August 27, 2015

The settlement came just as the lawsuit, first filed in September 2016, was set to go to trial Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Nancy Rosenstengel in East St. Louis. Terms of the preliminary deal weren't disclosed, and the two parties are expected to update the court next month and set a time line for seeking final approval, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Schlichter, a senior partner at Schlichter, Bogard & Denton in St. Louis, had filed the case on behalf of 190,000 Boeing employees and retirees. The lawsuit accused Boeing of failing to uphold its fiduciary duties to employees by allowing excessive fees, choosing higher-cost mutual funds over less expensive options and improperly making decisions for the 401(k) plan to benefit Boeing vendors.

Boeing has denied the allegations and made no comment to the Journal on the pending settlement. The $44 billion Boeing 401(k) plan is the second-largest in the U.S. behind only International Business Machines Corp.'s, according to the Labor Department.

Schlichter told the Journal he was pleased to have reached a provisional settlement and that his firm remains committed "to improving the 401(k) savings plans that millions of Americans rely on for a secure retirement."

Since Schlichter and his firm began pursuing companies for alleged violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in 2006, he has filed 18 suits against major corporations. The suit against Boeing was one of the first Schlichter had filed and his biggest target to date.

Eight settlements negotiated by Schlichter have produced more than $214 million in payouts, including $70 million for Schlichter, 67, and his firm, according to the Journal. In addition to monetary settlements, the agreements often require companies to change their 401(k) practices, the newspaper reports.

Schlichter has six cases pending, including one that went before the U.S. Supreme Court in February, and four others have been dismissed.

Chicago-based Boeing's Defense, Space & Security unit is based in Hazelwood.